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Paris Air Show crowd greets third Airbus A350 test flight

It was a good day for Airbus publicity as its energy-efficient passenger A350 jet flew over the high-profile air show and the French president hitched a ride in an A400M airlifter.

The Airbus A350 XWB at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport.
The Airbus A350 XWB at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

LE BOURGET, France -- The third time charmed.

The Airbus A350's maiden voyage on June 14 anc its second flight Wednesday were from Toulouse, France's fourth-largest city. Its third test flight on Friday, though, took the energy-efficient aircraft over the nation's capital, where a crowd at the Paris Air Show greeted the important new jet.

The jet made a conservative pass above the runway at Le Bourget Airport here, forsaking the steep ascents and sharply banked turns common as manufacturers show off the abilities of their aircraft. For a look at the event, check CNET's photo gallery of the A350 XWB flyover at the Paris Air Show.

The Airbus A350 XWB -- short for extra-wide body -- competes with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, another two-aisle passenger jet designed to cut fuel costs for workhorse airline routes. The Dreamliner, though grounded temporarily after battery problems earlier this year, has a multi-year headstart.

During the Paris Air Show, though, Airbus parent company EADS got some good news: $21.4 billion in commitments from customers who plan to buy 69 of A350 jets. The new orders came from Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Air France-KLM, and Sri Lankan, Airbus said.

The French company also got some publicity when French President Francois Hollande arrived at the show on the company's A400M, a hulking four-engine airlifter for military customers. Airbus took in $68.7 billion total in orders for new aircraft, doubtless welcome news in a country afflicted by the European economic malaise.

Part of that was a $8 billion deal to sell 20 of its massive A380 jets, which with two full decks are the largest passenger jets on the market today.

Both the A380 and the 787 Dreamliner were fixtures at the Paris Air Show making daily flights for thousands of customers, suppliers, and members of the public who attended the premier show.

For a look at other wares the company showed off at the Paris Air Show, check out CNET's Airbus A380 photo gallery and Airbus A400M photo gallery.