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Learning English - Words in the News
19 January, 2005 - Published 15:01 GMT
Airbus unveils 'superjumbo' jet
The Airbus A380 Superjumbo

The world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, sometimes called the super-jumbo, has been unveiled at an elaborate ceremony in France. This report from Andrew Walker:

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The Airbus company says the new aircraft will offer about a third more seating than its nearest competitor. Air travel is a growing business and the company says the A380 will enable more passengers to travel without extra air traffic movements. If the new aircraft is a success it would break the dominance that Boeing has in very large aircraft with its 747 jumbo jet.

Airbus is now a company in its own right, but it grew out of the cooperation between aerospace companies in several European countries, encouraged by their governments. The first airbus went into service in the mid-1970s. The presence at the unveiling of political leaders from France, Britain, Germany and Spain underlines the fact that it is a still a powerful symbol of European industrial cooperation.

Boeing has long complained that Airbus was supported by government subsidy, as it clearly has been. But Airbus has countered that Boeing too gets financial support from the US government. The competitive relationship between the two has been punctuated by rows about this issue.

Boeing has taken a different view of the way forward in this market. Instead of developing a very large aircraft, it is working on a smaller long distance plane, called the 7e7 Dreamliner. The Boeing vision for a growing aviation business seems to be one of a large number of direct, or 'point to point' flights. The A380 is about putting more passengers on each plane.

Andrew Walker, BBC, London

Listen to the words

allow, make it possible for

break the dominance
end the influence

went into service
started to fly

showing publicly for the first time



government subsidy
money paid by a government to make it cheaper to produce something

interrupted at intervals

the way forward
how to progress

understanding of how the future will be

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