LE BOURGET, France - One of Airbus' star jets was grounded after clipping a wing on a taxiway structure, the latest in a string of embarrassments fent Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to the air show on Monday, Reinhardt said.
On Saturday, Airbus announced that two of the three versions of its new widebody jet, the A350, would be delayed about two years.
The stretched A350-1000 is being pushed back to 2017 to give engine supplier Rolls Royce time to develop a more powerful motor that will extend the jet's range, Airbus said. The standard version of the plane, the A350-900, is still expected to arrive in the second half of 2013, Airbus said.
Airbus takes on its traditional rival Boeing Co. at the air show, where both are expected to announce a string of orders as they vie for the position of biggest planemaker in the world.
Qatar Airways announced an order for six Boeing 777 planes in a $1.7 billion deal at the start of the show Monday.
Beyond the rivalry, the search for more environmentally friendly aircraft is shaping up as a major theme of this year's Paris Air Sent version of its workhorse A320 shorthaul jet, while Boeing is spotlighting its new mid-range 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 intercontinental passenger jets.
Gallois said the air show, at Le Bourget airport outside Paris, "will confirm the success of the A320neo," a revamped version of the standard A320 reengineered to be 15 percent more fuel efficient.
Airbus has booked more than 330 orders and commitments for the A320neo since its commercial launch last December, including from airlines IndiGo, Virgin American, Brazil's TAM and airplane leasing company ILFC.
Airlines squeezed by higher fuel prices are rushing to order the jet, which isn't scheduled to come into service until late 2015. Boeing hasn't yet chosen how it will respond, but top marketing executive Randy Tinseth said last week it would decide in the coming months whether to upgrade its existing 737 model or design a whole new plane, which wouldn't be in the air until the end of the decade.
Boeing and Honeywell are both boasting of having the first biofuel-powered trans-Atlantic flight, with Boeing flying in its 747-8 freighter from Seattle on a mix of biofuel and jet fuel, while Honeywell touts the "green jet fuel" it developed to power a Gulfstream business jet on its way from New Jersey to Le Bourget just in time for the air show kickoff.
EADS will also demonstrate the world's first diesel-electric hybrid aircraft at the show, another leg in its strategy of cutting its fleet's carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent by 2050.
Skyrocketing fuel costs are a major issue for Airbus and Boeing customers, who will see theirdemand over the next 20 years, saying airlines will need $4 trillion worth of new planes to meet a pickup in passenger numbers, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
Going into next week's event, Airbus has taken in 176 gross orders this year, compared to Boeing's 183 gross orders.
Boeing is the world's No. 2 commercial jet maker after Airbus, based on 2010 deliveries. Airbus delivered 510 commercial planes last year, compared with 462 for Boeing.