June 21, 2007

Travolta touches down at Paris Air Show

LE BOURGET, France - Hollywood star John Travolta brought a splash of glamor to the Paris Air Show on Thursday as feverish buying of Airbus planes from Asian and Middle Eastern airlines continued.

Travolta, a qualified pilot and plane enthusiast, landed at the Paris Air Show in his personal Boeing 707 late on Wednesday and was to appear publicly at the exhibition site later on Thursday, organizers said.

His arrival upstaged yet more giant orders for Airbus jets.

Hong Kong Airlines and Indonesia's Mandala Airlines became the latest companies to contribute to Airbus's bulging order book by agreeing to deals worth 7.4 billion dollars (5.5 billion euros) at catalogue prices.

Hong Kong Airlines signed a preliminary sales agreement for 51 planes, including 20 longhaul A330s, which it said would help it to expand its network to offer routes to Australia, the Middle East and Europe.

"These new aircraft will help us grow our operation and to re-enforce Hong Kong as a key gateway in the region," said Hong King Airlines chairman Ren Wei Dong.

Mandala became the first Indonesian client for the shorthaul A320 model of aircraft, for use on domestic routes, after placing a firm order for 25.

"We are ready to expand our network from west to east Indonesia with the A320," said Mandala Airlines president director, Diono Nurjadin.

Buoyant new aircraft sales are being driven by global economic growth, which increases demand for air travel and gives airlines an opportunity to renew and expand their fleets.

Carriers from high growth areas such as Asia and the Middle East have been the most visible among the long list of clients unveiled by Airbus this week.

Indian group Kingfisher Airlines committed to place an order for 50 Airbus planes worth 7.0 billion dollars on Wednesday, while fellow Asian groups AirAsia, Thai Airways, and Indian cargo group Flyington Freighters have also made purchases.

From the Middle East, Dubai-based Emirates, Libya's Afriqiyah and Libyan Airlines, Kuwait's Jazeera Airways, Qatar Airways and Etihad of the United Arab Emirates have handed Airbus new business.

Airbus sales chief John Leahy said on Wednesday, before the deals with Kong Kong Airlines and Mandala, that Airbus had booked 358 firm orders and 190 commitments to order in the first three days of the Paris Air Show worth 75 billion dollars at catalogue prices.

The full of this article's can be read on the source at: ABS-CBNNEWS.com

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