Clouds hang over the launch of the 100th anniversary Paris Air Show today as investigators continue to pore over the wreckage of Air France flight 447. Bad business news combines with the tragedy to make this year's event less than stellar. Russia's first post-Soviet jetliner is expected to upstage Western projects delayed by financial hiccups. In addition, the annual order showdown between Boeing and rival Airbus will lack its usual luster since the world's airlines are predicting $9 billion in losses next year.
Boeing and Airbus both face project delays as the US—the world's biggest military spender—slashes its defense budget. The International Air Transport Association calls the current state "the most difficult situation the industry has faced," Reuters reports. Despite the grim news, organizers remain optimistic about drawing crowds of some 400,000.