Le Bourget airshow in Paris finished on a high note for Airbus in 2003.

Commenting on Airbus' success, Airbus President and CEO, Noel Forgeard, said: "We have achieved a lot this year, consequently Le Bourget has been full of activity. Most significantly, we have announced orders and commitments from three customers for 81 Airbus aircraft worth an estimated US $19.8 billion dollars. Including a new customer for the A380. In the current environment this is quite an achievement."

Following a press conference, to deliver news on the company's performance in the first half of 2003, came the first order announcement. At a special ceremony organised by Airbus, Chairman of Emirates, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, announced an additional 41 aircraft it had ordered. The largest single order ever placed by the airline comprised 21 A380s, 18 A340-600s and two A340-500s and is worth an estimated $12.5 billion dollars.

Korean Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus to acquire up to eight Airbus A380-800s (including three options) a worth of $2.2 billion dollars. This makes Korean Air the eleventh customer to acquire the all new very large A380, which now has orders and commitments of 129 aircraft ? an outstanding number two years prior to first flight.

It was Qatar Airways' order announcement that bought business to a close. CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al-Baker announced a US $5.1 billion dollar order of 32 aircraft, including 14 options - the largest deal in the carrier?s history.

At this year's Le Bourget, Airbus aircraft were the centre of attention for business visitors and the public alike, enthusiasts and novices. A diverse collection of some of the finest aircraft was on static display, and impressive daily airborne demonstrations were also given during the week. The Airbus chalet had a record number of 5600 visitors this week.

Frontier Airlines attracted attention when it presented its new A318 on static display at the prestigious event. Frontier Airlines' A318 is the first to be used commercially, and proves that even bears can be aerodynamic. A grizzly bear decal covers the entire tail fin and is the newest addition to the airline's wildlife themed livery.

And it's official. The Airbus A320 Family is the preferred choice of single aisle aircraft passengers. A major survey, by the internationally recognised Skytrax research company, revealed that passengers prefer its superior level of comfort and space.

In addition, at this year's Airbus Supplier Support Awards, held at Le Bourget, the top ten Airbus suppliers received awards for excellence in customer support performance.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE SYSTEMS.