Big aircraft builders racing to produce a small airbus

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Four of the world's biggest aircraft builders announced as the Paris International Air Show opened that they were pouring billions of dollars into rival projects for small airbuses.

The new planes will seat 130 to 160, depending on the maker, and should be in service by 1986 at the earliest. One expert said that estimated world demand for it was 2,400 by the end of the century.

Apparently leading the race is Airbus Industrie, Western Europe's aircraft manufacturing consortium. McDonnell Douglas and the Dutch Fokker company are also working jointly on a 150-seater, as is Boeing.

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