Boeing yesterday ratcheted up the pressure on European rival Airbus after unveiling a $3.3 billion (£1.8 billion) deal with Dubai-based Emirates. The carrier - which operates twice a day services between Birmingham and Dubai - is buying ten of Boeing's 747-8 freighter planes.
The order is the largest yet announced at the Farnborough International Airshow and a further blow for Airbus, as Emirates recently walked away from plans to buy the freighter version of the French-based firm's A380 superjumbo.
After five straight years of losing the race for plane orders, Boeing has pulled far ahead so far in 2006, outselling Airbus by four-to-one in the first six months.
Airbus, 80 per cent-owned by European aerospace group EADS, has been hit hard by delays to the A380, as well as customer complaints about its inconsistency over plans for a new A350 mid-sized plane.
But it still has a long way to catch up with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which is due for delivery in 2008, about four years ahead of the new A350.