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United Airlines orders 10 more Airbus A350 jets


United Airlines said on Thursday that it would order 10 Airbus A350-1000 long-range passenger jets in a deal worth up to $3.3 billion (2.5 billion euros).

"We look forward to taking delivery of the A350-1000," United chairman Jeff Smisek said in a statement.

He added that "our customers and co-workers will enjoy flying" in the large but lighter, more fuel-efficient plane.

United will also upgrade an earlier order for 25 of the slightly smaller A350-900 version to the -1000 model, underscoring one of the key trends towards purchases of longer-range aircraft from Airbus and Boeing at the Paris Air Show.

"Less than a week after the success of the A350 XWB's first flight, we see that demand for the new aircraft continues to grow, especially for the larger -1000 model," the statement quoted Airbus president and chief executive officer Fabrice Bregier as saying.

The new plane, designed to compete with Boeing's 777 and 787 models, made its first test flight last Friday in Toulouse, southern France, ramping up the race with Boeing for an important segment of the aircraft market.

"Airbus is proud to have United Airlines on board the exciting A350 program in such a significant way," Bregier said.

The new order for 10 aircraft has a catalogue price of $3.3 billion, but airlines usually negotiate a discount depending on the size of a deal.

Airbus has had a highly successful show this year, taking firm orders worth about $37.6 billion, at list prices.