Bigger vs. Faster

Airbus and Boeing are betting on very different visions of the future of flying

Some people bike to the office. Dan Detton dodges bikes inside his office. It's a hangar the size of 75 football fields, by volume the world's biggest building, where Detton, 37, an aeronautic mechanic, helps assemble the world's biggest commercial plane. He works for Boeing, the U.S.'s biggest exporter. And yet he observes, in the shadow of a Boeing 747, "Bigger isn't always better." A few years ago, those would have been fighting words at the Everett plant where Detton works, outside Seattle. But now even CEO Phil Condit is pushing the same line. Boeing, he insists, is becoming faster, more...

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