Model airplanes are made in Fullerton, Calif. The planes are often exchanged as gifts by world airline executives.
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In Japan, they bow. But all over the world airline executives engage in a greeting that is all their own: the exchange of model airplanes.When airlines start flying to new cities, make deals with other carriers or finance new jets, these high-quality models – typically 1 to 2 feet long – provide the perfect photo backdrop, can help break the ice or serve as a cherished "thank you". Puerto Rico's governor, Alejandro Garc?a-Padilla, has models from JetBlue, Lufthansa, Avianca and local airline Seaborne in his office.European aircraft manufacturer Airbus took in 1,456 passenger plane orders from 67 airlines around the world last year.The tradition of exchanging model planes has been around for decades. Walk through the headquarters of any airline and rows of models – including those of competitors – can be spotted.PacMin produces the planes for more than 4,000 customers around the world with the typical order just being a handful of planes.Mark Jung estimates he has spent $45,000 buying model planes over the past 45 years.JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes has 15 models in his office and dozens more on nearby shelves.That particular jet isn't in JetBlue's fleet – yet – but the model remains in his office.
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