The curtain of the 46th Paris Air Show rose Monday at Le Bourget Airport in northern suburbs of Paris, showcasing the Airbus' super jumbo A380.
The biyearly show, in which nearly 2,000 exhibitors from 41 countries participate, will last one week between June 13 and 19 and will open to the public on the last three days.
The show was inaugurated by French President Jacques Chirac, and stars Airbus's new super jumbo A380, the world's largest airliner, in its first public appearance after its first flight on April 27.
An A380 aircraft flew to Le Bourget Sunday "without a hitch" from the Airbus' headquarters in the southwestern French city of Toulouse.
The super jumbo is expected to take off daily, according to French pilot Jacques Rosay, who will man the controls of the A380 during the week. Le Bourget officials said they specially extended a runway to accommodate the double-decker A380, which an Airbus spokesman said would hit its 100th hour of flying time at Le Bourget and is due to enter commercial service in 2006.
According to an Airbus spokesman, the European plane maker also hopes to announce at the show an order for its A380 and 100 orders for its long-range, medium-capacity A350, a rival of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, which is expected to enter service in 2008 and already has won 266 orders and options.
Over 300,000 visitors are expected at Le Bourget, the airport that since 1951 has hosted the Air Show considered to be the world 's top aeronautical event.
According to the event's general commissioner Louis Le Portz, this year's exhibition features 238 planes by a record 1,924 exhibitors, including sixty aircrafts making demonstration flights.
Boeing is introducing its 777-200LR Worldliner, the world's longest-range commercial airplane (17,445 kilometers), which can connect almost any two cities in the world without stopping. It landed Friday at Le Bourget, completing its first intercontinental flight.
Among the other aircraft making their first appearance at Le Bourget are French company Dassault Aviation's Falcon 7X, a tri-jet, long-range business jet, the Brazilian Embraer 195, a 118-seat regional airliner, and US company Gulfstream's business jets G450 and G550.
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