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Airbus CEO satisfied with 2007 despite weak dollar, A380 delays

Airbus’s head said Monday that he expected 2007 to be record for orders despite concerns of a weak dollar and delays to its A380 superjumbo plane.

"This year will be a record year for orders and deliveries," Tom Enders, Airbus President and chief executive said at the Dubai International Airshow, Dow Jones Newswires reported. "We expect to have delivered 450 aircraft so far this year by mid-November."

Enders comments came as state-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise announced Monday at the airshow that it will buy 100 Airbus planes for US$13.5 billion (EUR9.19 billion).

Dubai Aerospace, which develops airports and leases and finance aircraft, also said it will buy 100 aircraft from Airbus rival, Chicago-based Boeing Co., in a deal with US$13.7 billion (EUR9.33 billion), Dow Jones reported.

That order comprises 70 Boeing 787s and 30 widebody aircraft, the DAE said. The widebody fleet will be split between 787s, 777s and 747s. The price incorporates a deal with GE for engines, valued at more than US$1.9 billion (EUR1.29 billion).

Also Monday, Saudi Arabian Airlines said it signed a memorandum of understanding for 22 Airbus A320 aircraft as part of fleet modernization plans, said Airbus, which is owned by European Aeronautic Defense & Space Company, in a statement. The agreement allows the Saudi airline company to increase the order by eight more A320s.

The orders come a day after Emirates Airline announced it signed a massive order for 78 Airbus, with an option to buy 50 more Airbus planes. The company's firm order included eight of Airbus' new superjumbo A380, the world's largest commercial jet. Saudi low-cast carrier National Air Service said it would buy 20 Airbus A320 aircraft.

On Sunday, Emirates Airline also ordered 12 Boeing 777 jets, and Qatar Airways ordered 27 Boeing 777 planes in part of its plan to double its 58-strong fleet to 110 aircraft by 2010.

LCAL, a Dubai-based leasing company, also announced Monday it plans to buy six Boeing 787 aircraft in a deal worth US$972 million (EUR661.99 million), the company announced, according to Dow Jones.

The Dubai Airshow, the third-largest event of its kind, is closely watched as a measure of the state of Gulf air carriers, who are taking advantage of shifting travel routes to substantially expand their fleets, and ambition to turn the region into a major international hub.

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