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Aviation

Airbus presents A330neo, but F-35 is a no-show at air show

The Airbus 330neo, an update of Airbus's popular range of long-haul passenger jets, is a highlight of this year's Farnborough Airshow. But the troubled F35 Joint Strike Fighter is off the program for now.

Airbus kicked off the Farnborough Airshow in the UK on Monday with revamped versions of its A330 wide-body jet, powered by more efficient Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and kitted out with other improvements that together offer 14 percent fuel savings.

"The A330 is a very important margin contributor for our group. It's also one of the most reliable and efficient commercial aircraft ever. Customers love it," said Airbus chief executive Tom Enders.

Airbus A330, previous version

The previous version of the A330, pictured, has been a best-seller for Airbus

Thanks to the new engine and other efficiency tweaks, including an increased wingspan and new wing tips, the A330neo will have a range 400 nautical miles longer than its predecessor. It will also have room for up to 10 extra seats in the cabin, improving its prospective profitability for airlines.

Military aircraft maker Lockheed Martin has had a rocky start at Farnborough this year. An engine failure last month in one of the US Air Force's new F35 Lightning II fighter jets resulted in a decision to ground the entire fleet of F35s until the reasons for the failure of the Pratt & Whitney supplied engine had been fully cleared up.

The grounding occurred just before the planned appearance of fighter aircraft at two major airshows in Britain - the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) and Farnborough.

Farnborough International Airshow 2014 ARCHIV F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

USAF has grounded all its Lockheed Martin F35 Joint Strike Fighter jets for engine safety tests

The F35 is also known as the "Joint Strike Fighter" because the decision to develop and fund the fighter was taken jointly by the US and several of its allies. The controversial aircraft has been subject to years of delays and cost overruns.

Farnborough officials remain hopeful that the F35 may put in an appearance at the airshow later this week, if the US Air Force gives the green light for the jets to resume flights.

Farnborough is the second biggest air show in Europe after Le Bourget in France.

nz/ng (Reuters, dpa)

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