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Airbus grabs big new order.

Byline: Louise Davies

AIRBUSincreased its hold on the budget flight market yesterday after clinching a pounds 3bn deal to supply 65 narrow-body jets to a US no-frills airline.

New York-based JetBlue, which operates an all-Airbus fleet, is poised to confirm an order for 65 Airbus A320 planes and take a further 50 options in what will be the largest order of the year for thecompany.

The order offers a tonic for the company's 5,000 workers at Broughton where all its wings are made,as Airbus weathers some of the worst conditions ever seen in the civil aviation market.

Airlines across the globe are making cutbacks but JetBlue has defied the downturn thanks to cheap fares,new aircraft, quick turnaround and a non-unionised workforce. The deal represents another key milestone for Toulouse-basedAirbus in its competition with rival Boeing.

Last year, budget carrier easyJet decided to switch its all-Boeing fleet to Airbus and awarded the European plane maker amassive120-jet order.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce also announced yesterday that it had won business potentially worth around pounds 300m to supply the JetBlue Airbus order with V2500 engines.

JetBlue currently operates 41 A320s and has contracts for a total of 202 of the jetliners, including those in yesterday's announcement. All their A320s will be V2500-powered. Rolls-Royce employs over 300 people at its energy division on the Atlantic Industrial Estatein Netherton. The newly ordered aircraft will be delivered between 2004 and 2011. Mike Terrett, president of Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, said: ``The V2500's links with JetBlue began four years ago and this repeat business is testimony to the success of that partnership. JetBlue has a deserved reputation for innovation and delivering a high quality product, and we look forward to extending our close ties through the V2500 programme.''

International Aero Engines (IAE), which produces the V2500,is a multina-tional consortium comprising RollsRoyce, Pratt & Whitney of the United States, the Japanese Aero Engines Corporation and MTU Aero Engines of Germany. V2500s power Airbus A319, A320 and A321 airliners as well as the A319 CorporateJet.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Apr 25, 2003
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