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Airbus wins $1.3 bln order from Wizz Air

Airbus SAS, lagging behind Boeing Co. in orders this year, won a contract from eastern European low-fare carrier Wizz Air Ltd. for 20 A320s worth about $1.3 billion. The contract follows the airline's order a year ago for 12 A320s, Airbus said at the UK's Farnborough International Airshow yesterday. The A320 is perhaps best known as the first airliner to introduce a fly-by-wire flight control system - where control inputs from the pilot are transmitted to the flying surfaces by electronic signals rather than mechanical means. Apart from a small weight saving, the advantage of Airbus' fly-by-wire is that as it is computer controlled, an inbuilt flight envelope protection makes it virtually impossible to exceed certain flight parameters such as G limits and the aircraft's maximum and minimum operating speeds and angle of attack limits.

The company operates flights from Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania to 40 destinations on 70 routes. The airline has carried 4 million passengers since it began operating in 2004. “We're the first low-cost carrier in Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria and we're expanding rapidly,” said József Váradi, chief executive officer of Wizz Air. The carrier is adding flights this year in Croatia, Slovakia and Romania and sees lots of opportunities to expand in eastern and central Europe, Váradi said. He also said the carrier is considering an initial public offering. The aircraft will be powered by V2500 engines built by International Aero Engines. The value of the engine contract is $350 million based on list prices. With a service contract, the agreement is valued at about $1 billion he said. Pratt & unit of United Technologies Corp., and Rolls-Royce each get about one-third of revenue.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus is trying to retain its spot atop the $60 billion-a-year commercial plane market. It announced at the air show earlier this week that it will build an all-new A350 XWB. Airbus received contracts for 117 planes in the first six months of the year, a quarter of the total received by Chicago-based Boeing. Airbus earlier today won a contract valued at as much as $1.06 billion from CIT Group Inc. for nine planes. New York-based CIT, the world's fifth largest aircraft lessor, is buying five long-range A330-200 aircraft and four single-aisle A320 planes, Airbus said in a statement. CIT has placed total orders for 97 A320 airliners, 15 A330s and five A350s, Airbus said. CIT is the fifth largest aircraft. (Bloomberg, Airlines.net)