Paris show takes off

ROLLS-ROYCE announced a bumper $2.1bn (&pound;1.35bn) order deal for its engines at the Paris Air Show yesterday, defying the gloomy mood surrounding the biennial event. <br /><br />The company said its engines will power planes belonging to Middle East carriers Gulf Air and Qatar Airlines, as well as Germany&rsquo;s Condor, and Royal China.<br /><br />But bleak sentiment has overshadowed the usually glamourous event.<br /><br />&ldquo;Very few aircraft orders are expected to be announced this week,&rdquo; Barclays Wealth&rsquo;s Peter Caldwell said yesterday.<br /><br />However, the first day of the show saw several companies announcing orders.&nbsp;<br /><br />Qatar Airways ordered 24 Airbus A320 jets, a deal worth $1.84bn, while Spanish airline Air Nostrum has confirmed an order for 35 Bombardier CRJ-1000 jets, worth $1.75bn.<br /><br />Hungarian airline Malev also signalled its intent to purchase 30 Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft, a deal worth up to $1bn.<br /><br />&ldquo;Bad though the immediate outlook is, it&rsquo;s far more likely that orders will be deferred rather than cancelled,&rdquo; Howard Wheeldon at BGC Partners said.&nbsp;<br />
<div><br />Airlines are reluctant to cancel their existing orders in case of falling behind competitors once an economic recovery hits the industry.<br /><br />Plane maker Boeing has said it does not expect to win many new orders from the show. <br /><br />Meanwhile, rival Airbus has targeted 300 gross orders for 2009, before cancellations, compared to 1,458 last year. <br /><br />Boeing and Airbus are helping airlines to buy planes as they struggle through the downturn by assisting them in raising finance.</div>