Airlines have been clamouring for fuel-efficient aircraft – because of high oil prices – and Airbus knew the quickest way to respond was to embark on a modest overhaul of the A320 rather than opting for the more ambitious plan of building a new jet.
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Airbus, the main subsidiary of EADS, has enjoyed 2011 largely thanks to strong demand for a revamped version of its A320 narrow-body workhorse.
It stole a march on Boeing last year by unveiling plans for the A320neo, which should burn 15 per cent less fuel than the existing A320 aircraft because of its new engines.
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