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Airbus complaint against Boeing ad dismissed

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Boeing did not mislead readers of a trade magazine when touting the advantages of its 747-8 jumbo jet over rival Airbus' A380 model, Britain's Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled Wednesday.

European aircraft maker Airbus had called upon the regulator to investigate the advertisement placed in the magazine Flight International, as part of an ongoing trade war between the aviation giants.

US plane manufacturer Boeing claimed that the 747-8 Intercontinental, the latest version of the 747, has a "26 percent cost advantage" per trip over the A380, and was "eight percent more efficient" in terms of kerosene consumption per seat, a vital consideration for airlines at a time of high fuel costs.

In its decision, the ASA judged the readers of the specialised publication to be "experts" who were used to these types of comparisons, however imperfect they might be.

"We considered that the intended audience of the ad, those involved in the decision-making process to purchase large aircraft, would have a high-level understanding in this area and would be familiar with the method of comparison used by Boeing," it said.

"We also considered they were unlikely to make a purchase decision without seeking a great deal more information on the potential advantages of the aeroplane, based on their own specific requirements," it added.

The reader was therefore not likely to be deceived, the ASA concluded in rejecting the Airbus complaint.

The France-based company reacted to the decision by maintaining its claim "that fair fuel-burn per seat comparisons must take into account current cabin configurations and comfort levels actually operated by the airlines.

"Under these comparable conditions, the A380 demonstrates... significant lower fuel burn per seat compared to the 747-8," Airbus said, adding that the market had already "given its clear verdict."

At the end of June, Boeing had recorded a total of 105 orders for the 747-8, of which 40 were for the "Intercontinental" passenger plane and 65 for the cargo version, while Airbus notched 262 orders for its A380.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130806/airbus-complaint-against-boeing-ad-dismissed