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Qatar Airways in focus as Boeing, Airbus vie for orders

FARNBOROUGH England (Reuters) - Airbus and Boeing were set to resume their multi-billion dollar battle over new plane orders on day three of the Farnborough Airshow, with hopes reviving that Qatar Airways would firm up a deal for 50 Boeing 777X planes.

While the Gulf airline has played down the prospect of finalizing the potential $18 billion deal this week, analysts say negotiations can move on quickly at the world's biggest aerospace industry gathering of the year.

GE , which would provide engines for the planes, said on Tuesday it was confident that Qatar Airways' so-called "letter of intent" for the planes would turn into a firm order. Boeing declined to comment.

Airbus has so far racked up around $60 billion of orders and commitments at the July 14-20 air show in southern England, far outstripping Boeing, helped by the launch of a revamped, more fuel-efficient version of its twin-aisle A330 model.

However, Boeing began the show with a clear advantage over its European rival after gaining 703 gross orders up to July 8, or 649 after cancellations, against Airbus’s end-June total of 515 gross orders and 290 net.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Mark Potter)