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Airbus, Boeing battle it out at Farnborough

By Matthew Knight, for CNN
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New Boeing jetliner makes public debut
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 2010 Farnborough International Airshow runs from July 19 to 25
  • Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes its international debut at the show
  • Bombardier will be looking to secure more orders of its C-Series aircraft

London, England (CNN) -- The 47th Farnborough International Airshow opened its doors for business Monday with the world's two biggest aircraft manufacturers hoping it will mark a turning point after a turbulent financial year.

Boeing will be hoping the international debut of its 787 Dreamliner can swell orders close to the 1,000 mark.

Boeing secured an order for 30 of its 777 jets for $9.1 billion from Emirates Airlines, the companies announced Monday, as the commercial aircraft maker continues to bounce back from the recession.

Meanwhile, Airbus's new military transport plane, the A400M, will be taking to the skies looking to catch the attention of buyers.

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Michael Targett, online editor of flightglobal.com detects that optimism may be slowly returning.

"Last year at Paris, it was obvious that we were entering the doldrums. There was a real dearth of views and orders. As we went into the Dubai [November 2009] and then the Singapore [February 2010] air shows it really was stark, there was virtually nothing," Targett told CNN.

But at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition held in Geneva in May, Targett sensed a "vibe that was much more positive," even if business wasn't particularly good.

"Everyone's hoping there are going to be orders at Farnborough, but no one knows for sure," he said, "but I don't think it's going to be the same as Farnborough two years ago, when it was orders galore."

In 2008, $88.7 billion worth of orders were announced at Farnborough, up from $42 billion in 2006.

Away from the airfield, Farnborough's organizers have created the world's largest temporary exhibition space, with over 110,000 square meters of floor space hosting nearly 1,400 exhibitors who will be welcoming an expected 150,000 trade visitors.

For the first time in the airshow's 62-year history, Farnborough's organizers have decided to implement themed conference days -- aerospace, defense, space and security running from Monday to Thursday.

"The conference program is an important first for the Farnborough International Airshow...It will give visitors and exhibitors more opportunities to network ensuring better value for their time," Shaun Ormrod, Chief Executive at Farnborough International Ltd said.

There are also plenty of business developments to keep an eye out for during the week.

"There is talk of the Bombardier C-Series and whether there is going to be some additional orders for that, which will be interesting," Targett said.

Republic Airways became the first North American customer of Canadian-based aircraft manufacturer, Bombardier in February when they ordered 40 of the twin engine CS300 138-seat aircraft and placed an option on a further 40.

Targett says it will be interesting to see if other airlines start ordering the C-Series.

"If they do," he said, "it sends a warning shot to Boeing and Airbus that there is another potential player in that market."

There will also be some healthy competition for orders between engine manufacturers, U.S.-based Pratt and Whitney and French/U.S.-owned CFM International.

Both will be looking to secure orders for their fuel-efficient turbofan engines from the major airline manufacturers, Targett says.

As well as Airbus's A400M, Targett says look out for an announcement on the KC-X Tanker -- Boeing's new generation of aerial military refueling aircraft.