Boeing, Airbus Firefight at Paris Air Show

Rivals for $40 billion Air Force deal bring out big guns
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2007 9:18 AM CDT
Boeing, Airbus Firefight at Paris Air Show
Visitors gather next to a super jumbo jet Airbus A380, at the 47th Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, North of Paris, Tuesday June 19, 2007. Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS are expected to announce more plane orders Tuesday as trans-Atlantic rivalry between the two continues to dominate the Paris Air Show. (AP...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – The battle between Boeing and Airbus soared to new levels of rancor this week at the Paris Air Show, where the companies are competing to supply the US Air Force with fuel tankers in a contract worth up to $40 billion. The open crossfire was unusual, the Wall Street  Journal notes, for a defense industry in which rivals on one project are often partners on the next.

Boeing attacked its competitor’s plane as an oversized gas-guzzler, while championing its own half-century of tanker experience. Underdog Airbus hired an outside company to tout Boeing’s weaker points, including delays on Boeing tankers sold to foreign customers. The Air Force, which has not indicated a clear favorite, will make its decision this fall. (Read more Boeing stories.)

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