updated 1/6/2006 1:48:46 PM ET 2006-01-06T18:48:46

German automaker BMW AG said Friday it will help Airbus design its new A350 jet — the chief rival of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

The planned cooperation was first reported by the financial daily Handelsblatt, which cited sources at Airbus as saying that BMW would design a cabin for the A350 that will provide customers with greater comfort.

BMW spokesman Michael Rebspock confirmed that an agreement had been made, but declined to give details.

The A350 is facing stiff competition from its Boeing rival.

The Dreamliner had won 185 orders through the end of November, compared to 49 for the A350. The planes are scheduled to enter service in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

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