Rivalry makes us stronger, says Boeing boss

The often vicious trade battle between Airbus maker EADS and rival Boeing has helped cement their position as a duopoly, says the US giant's chief executive.

Speaking on the eve of the Paris Air Show, which is the biggest event in the aerospace calendar this year, Boeing boss Jim McNerney said that the manufacturers' intense rivalry – which has included making claims and counterclaims of subsidies to the World Trade Organisation – has benefited both.

He said: "I think the competition between Airbus and Boeing actually will make it more difficult for [China's] Comac to catch up. Because as you see, we are stretching technically. Sometimes absorbing more risk, but we are innovating."

The inaugural flight of Airbus's long-awaited A350 XWB aircraft took place on Friday. This is designed to take on some of Boeing's best-selling aeroplanes, including the Dreamliners that had problems with its batteries earlier this year.

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