Business: Flying the Skies of the Future

A record order heralds a new generation of superjets

Like competing suitors seeking the dowry of a fabled heiress, the major planemakers for months have been courting United Airlines. Salesmen from Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing—each carrying special pleas and promises—swarmed to the company's Chicago headquarters. There was also a fascinating newcomer on the scene, the European Airbus consortium. Reason for the wooing: United, the free world's largest airline, was preparing to place the first big order for the new generation of supersophisticated jetliners on whose fleet wings air travelers will fly into the...

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