Mr. [Jean-Jacques Huber] said the Airbus partners -- France's Aerospatiale, Germany's Deutsche Aerospace, British Aerospace, and CASA of Spain -- would still proceed with a parallel feasibility study they are conducting with Boeing. Airbus itself, which markets the four manufacturers' planes, has observer status in that study.
Mr. Huber showed reporters sketches of the basic configuration Airbus has decided upon. The plan calls for two levels of seats, for as many as 854 passengers.
A senior executive at a jet-engine manufacturer, who declined to be identified, said if Airbus could secure a launch order from British Airways, it would bring the European group in from behind and give it a "leg up on Boeing."
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