Newest Airbus jet, the A320neo, takes first flight

TOULOUSE, France (AP) - - Airbus has sent its latest jet up for its first flight above the skies of southern France, amid high demand for the single-aisle A320neo and its promised fuel economy.

The planemaker has already taken more than 3,000 orders for the A320neo, a revamped version of its best-selling A320 range of jets.

The A320neo - or "new engine option" - incorporates an engine that uses less fuel and sharklet wing tips that help reduce fuel needs.

A320s are mid-range jets that generally seat up to 180 passengers.

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

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

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