Airbus congratulates Boeing on rollout of 787

Airbus congratulates Boeing on rollout of 787
PARIS (AP) - Airbus congratulated its American rival Boeing Co. on Sunday's rollout of the 787 Dreamliner, whose commercial success has fueled the European planemaker's troubles in recent years.

"Even if tomorrow Airbus will get back to the business of competing vigorously, today is Boeing's day - a day to celebrate the 787," Airbus co-CEO Louis Gallois said in a letter to Boeing Chairman and CEO James McNerney on Sunday.

"Today is a great day in aviation history. Whenever such a milestone is reached in our industry it is always a reflection of hard work by dedicated people inspired by the wonder of flight," the letter said.

Boeing was unveiling the first of its 787 Dreamliners at the company's widebody assembly plant in Everett, Wash., on Sunday.

Boeing has won 677 orders for the 787, selling out delivery positions through 2015, on promises that the midsize, long-haul jet will burn less fuel, be cheaper to maintain and offer more passenger comforts than comparable planes flying today.

Airbus doesn't expect to roll out its competing A350 XWB until 2013, after customers forced the planemaker into a costly redesign that pushed back production. Meanwhile, Airbus has been focusing on its superjumbo A380, which has also faced delays that slashed profits at parent company EADS.