blunt the impact of the 777X," said a senior industry source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The event presents a personal challenge for combative Airbus sales chief John Leahy, a New Yorker who is keen to avoid a rare defeat at an air show in his 20th year in the job.
Leahy is under pressure to revive the fortunes of the A380, which until Sunday had found no buyers this year and faces a cut in production unless empty 2015 production slots can be filled.
Emirates, already the biggest customer of the A380, said it was ordering a further 50 of the planes, at the top end of expectations, and bringing its total orders for A380s to 140.
US AIRLINE WARNING
Boeing's new 777 comes in two models including what will be the world's longest-distance passenger jet, a 350-seat model to be known as the 777-8 once the aircraft has been launched.
The larger 777-9 edition, carrying 406 people, will be the main version and be delivered starting 2020.
Together, the modernized planes call for development of carbon-fibre wings that fold at the tips to fit in the same parking spaces and new engines from General Electric.
Airbus says Boeing has packed in passengers densely to make the revamped aircraft's economics work against its own all-new 350-seat model, the A350-1000, due to enter service in 2017.
It has launched a campaign for a minimum standard seat width of 18 inches on long trips, aiming to draw attention to what it says will be the 777's narrower seats.
Some airlines have told Airbus that this is their decision and Boeing says many Airbus jets have similar seats.
A group representing US airline pilots, meanwhile, warned that the sale of hundreds of planes to Gulf carriers that compete with US carriers would have "serious consequences for the US economy and US airline workers." This would create stiff competition for the US airline industry.
Highlighting defence deals also at stake at the Nov. 17-21 air show, UK Prime Minister David Cameron toured the complex even before the event had started, telling the heads of British aerospace and defence companies to "get out there and win".
Britain is competing with France for a potential 60-plane fighter jet deal with the United Arab Emirates.