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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.

    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.

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    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.

    Associated Press