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New Airbus jet takes first flight

Airbus has sent its latest jet up for its first flight above the skies of southern France.

The plane maker has seen high demand for the single-aisle A320neo and its promised fuel economy.

Airbus has already taken more than 3,000 orders for the A320neo, a revamped version of its best-selling A320 range, mid-range jets that generally seat up to 180 passengers.

The A320neo - or "new engine option" - incorporates an engine that uses less fuel with the help of specialised "sharklet" wing tips.

The plane took off and landed safely in a test flight from Toulouse.

Airbus yesterday raised its long-term forecast for new plane demand, predicting that airlines will need 31,400 new aircraft over the next 20 years - with most being single-aisle.

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