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Airbus clocks 59 orders for new A350 wide-body jet

Airbus chairman Fabrice Bregier (left) with Air France-KLM chairman Alexandre de Juniac.

Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Airbus chairman Fabrice Bregier (left) with Air France-KLM chairman Alexandre de Juniac.

LE BOURGET, France — Airbus raked in orders Wednesday for its new A350, announcing 59 sales of the wide-body jet, which flew for the first time last week.

Singapore Airlines ordered 30 A350-900s, with an option to buy another 20 of the 900s or the larger 1000 model.

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Air France-KLM also put in an order, for 25 of the A350 jets, saying the plane will be central to its plan to expand long-haul flights after years of struggling against discount carriers in Europe.

Airbus also announced that SriLankan Airlines would buy four A350s and six slightly smaller A330 jets.

Wednesday’s announcements at the Paris Air Show represent a vote of confidence in the A350, which Airbus is hoping will help it catch up to Boeing’s popular 787 and 777 models in the lucrative field of long-haul wide-body jets. The A350, which typically seats 314 passengers, has a list price of $287.7 million; the A330, which does not fly as far as the A350, has a list price of $239.4 million.

The A350 makes extensive use of lightweight carbon fiber, at a time when fuel costs are a major concern. Potential customers at the air show have not been able to see the plane at Le Bourget — the plane is not yet cleared for flight there. First deliveries are expected in mid-2014.

The SriLankan Airlines deal is worth around $2.8 billion at list prices, while Singapore Airline’s firm order is worth $8.6 billion at list prices.

The Air France deal is worth around $7.2 billion at list prices but customers can negotiate steep discounts. It’s a major investment for the airline, which has posted operating losses over the past couple of years.

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