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updated: 3/10/2010 2:17 PM

United makes firm order for 25 Airbus A350s

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PARIS -- United Airlines has made a firm order for 25 of Airbus' A350 extra-wide bodied jets, fulfilling a commitment signed in December, the European aircraft manufacturer said Wednesday.

Deliveries of the 314-seat A350-900s are scheduled to begin in 2016 and run through 2019, Airbus said in a statement.

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The order is half of a 50-aircraft order United announced in December, when it also unveiled plans to buy 25 of Airbus' rival Boeing Co.'s 787 jets.

At list prices the new jets would be worth more than $10 billion, with about $4 billion for Boeing's 787-8 and around $6 billion for the Airbus planes.

United President John Tague said at the time that the carrier got a discount, which is common for jet orders, though he didn't specify how much.

The planes will replace Boeing 747 and 767s. Deliveries are expected between 2016 and 2019.

Both of the new models are made with composites, meant to be lighter -- and thus more fuel-efficient -- than the usual aluminum construction.

The Boeing 787 made its first flight in December, while Airbus is aiming to deliver its first A350 in 2013.

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