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Paris Air Show set for turbulence

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A model of French aircraft maker Airbus Industries' latest commercial airliner, the Airbus A380, is exhibited at Paris  


PARIS, France (CNN) -- Preparations for the world's biggest air show are in full swing at Le Bourget airport just outside Paris.

More than 270,000 people are expected to attend the week-long event, where 242 aircraft will be on display.

The biennial Paris Air Show, opening on Saturday, is the most important event concerning the aeronautical and space world.

Created in 1909, it is also the oldest aeronautical show in the world. More than 1,700 exhibitors are expected to attend, representing 43 countries.

But CNN's Liz George says that this year's air show looks set to be "a bumpy ride" for the exhibitors, with the downturn in the new technology sector taking its toll.

"The dot-com slide is leading to less orders for flashy business jets, while telecom and communication companies are scaling back sky-high expansion plans. That means the once heady satellite launch business is beginning to fizzle."

She also said that a softer economy means less commercial aircraft announcements at Paris this year.

She added: "The only big military order may go to Airbus, which is partly owned by Europe's new defence giant EADS, showing off at its first Paris show."

European governments are keen to buy a big transport plane from airbus to move troops more quickly to hot spots, she reported.

She said questions surround commercial and defence orders. "Few major airlines are making a profit at the moment, which may mean less plane orders for the likes of Boeing and Airbus," she added.

Last year was the second best year for the two manufacturers.

Airbus is expected to offer a sneak peak at its new passenger liner. A life-size model displaying the first elements of the A380 Airbus, the biggest carrier in the world, which is now under construction and will be able to carry up to 800 passengers.

The Boeing B 737-900, the longest aircraft in its generation, is also expected to make an appearance. Among the aircraft to be exhibited will be the jewels in the American, European and Russian Air Forces.

Some of the special attractions are expected to be the Global Hawk, an American endurance plane without a pilot which is the size of a business jet and the B2 strategic stealth bomber, undetectable by radar, which was recently used in Kosovo.

The Ukranian-built Antonov 225, the world's biggest carrier which can transport 250 tonnes of cargo, is also expected to draw attention.





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