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Airbus continued to record big orders for its aircraft on day-three at the Paris Air Show. Boeing was relatively quiet, aside from a three-plane NATO deal and an order from Air France-KLM previously booked as an "unidentified customer." Meanwhile, rhetoric intensified over a forthcoming U.S. Air Force tanker contract decision, given its size of up to $40 billion and the possibility of winning orders from U.S. allies. Boeing-Airbus(EADS)-chart-06-20-07 The Wall Street Journal reports there are indications the Air Force might not be inclined to pick a clear winner. Boeing is the favorite based on experience, but it has recently encountered development delays, and was involved in an earlier corruption scandal. Airbus, which has partnered with Northrop Grumman, is new to tankers. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said there is no budget to split the initial purchase between the rivals, but he wants to keep that option open. An analyst at a U.S. aerospace consultancy called Airbus' latest A350 XWB orders "peripheral," saying, "These are not the blue-chip carriers they need to endorse it."

Sources: Dow Jones-AP, Reuters, Wall Street Journal I, II
Commentary: ILFC Places Big Order with Boeing, Favors 787 Over A350Airbus Flies High at Paris Air Show; Delta, Boeing Negotiate $20B OrderBoeing Announces 737/777 Orders, Aerospace MOU with Abu Dhabi
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Boeing (NYSE:BA), EADS (Paris: 005730), Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC), Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT), General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE). ETFs: iShares DJ US Aerospace & Defense (NYSEARCA:ITA), PowerShares Aerospace & Defense (NYSEARCA:PPA)
Conference call transcripts: Boeing Q1 2007, General Electric Q1 2007
Related: Paris Air Show Notebook [WSJ]

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Source: Boeing, Airbus Duel Continues at Paris Air Show