Aviation: Europe's Airliners Raid the U.S.

For the past 25 years, Boeing of Seattle, Wash., and McDonnell Douglas of St. Louis, Mo., have had a virtual monopoly on sales of passenger jets to U.S. airlines. Last week the American companies sustained a damaging air raid. Airbus Industrie, the European consortium of French, British, West German and Spanish plane builders, announced a $1 billion deal to deliver 28 of its new jets to Pan Am, a longtime Boeing customer. The European aviation industry exulted over the agreement, dubbing it the contract of the century.

Twelve of the planes ordered by Pan Am are wide-body Airbus A310s, which rival...

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