CIT Group Inc. (NYSE:CIT), a leading provider of commercial and consumer finance solutions, has ordered five Airbus A350-800s, becoming a new customer for the type, as well as placing a repeat order for 24 A320 Family aircraft.

Deliveries of the A320 Family will begin in 2007, and those of the newly designed A350s in 2012.

CIT's selection of the A350 takes total commitments for the new Airbus model to 130 aircraft from eight customers, and highlights its appeal to both airlines and lessors.

Typically flying 253 passengers up to 8,800 nm/16,300 km, the Airbus A350 carries 30 more people eight per cent more economically/seat than its closest competitor.

"We chose the Airbus A350 after extensive analysis, because it will offer airlines new standards in performance and economics, together with unmatched passenger appeal," says CIT Aerospace President Jeffrey Knittel. "Additionally, market demand is consistently high for Airbus' A320 Family, which continues to perform exceptionally well with our clients around the world, so we wanted to buy more of them."

CIT's latest order takes its Airbus aircraft portfolio to more than 100 aircraft, making it one of the European manufacturer’s largest leasing-company customers. Its portfolio already includes A319s, A320s, A321s and A330s.

"Leasing companies such as CIT have the vision to look far into the future, excellent financial resources, and a global outlook, so their selection of the new Airbus A350 points to a great future," says Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert. "CIT's repeat order also highlights the continuing strong demand for our best-selling A320 Family - still the benchmark in single-aisle aircraft innovation."

The Airbus A350 features 60 per cent advanced weight-saving materials, fuel-saving new-generation engines, and valuable savings in training and operation through cockpit-commonality with today’s A330/A340 family. It flies more people, more economically, to more distant cities than any other aircraft in its class.

Airbus' A320 Family comprises the world’s most modern single-aisle airliners. It sets the industry benchmark to which others aspire, with features such as fly-by-wire controls and a common cockpit, cost-saving centralised maintenance, weight-saving carbonfibre, and fuel-saving wingtip fences as standard. It also has the most spacious cabin, allowing wider seats for passengers - even in economy class.

Firm orders for the Airbus A320 Family now stand at more than 3,600, and the aircraft have almost 200 customers and operators to their credit.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.