Up, Up and Away

Commercial-jet builders are riding a $43 billion boom in new orders

As millions of air travelers embark on holiday flights this week, some of them will be flying on jetliners fresh off the assembly line. And in the near future more and more passengers will be boarding shiny new planes, because the three big commercial-aircraft builders -- Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Europe's Airbus -- have been enjoying a Christmas-style sales rush all year long. Airlines around the world, spurred by growing passenger volume and the need to replace hundreds of aging 1960s-era jets, have embarked on an unprecedented shopping spree, ordering more than 976 new jets worth a record $43 billion so...

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