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IAG in talks with Airbus on A350 order for British Airways: WSJ

A British Airways passenger jet takes off from Heathrow Airport in west London April 7, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A British Airways passenger jet takes off from Heathrow Airport in west London April 7, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

(Reuters) - Airline holding company International Airlines Group could order Airbus' new A350 long-range aircraft for its British Airways arm as soon as this week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The exact number of planes to be ordered and the potential value of the contract were still under discussion with the talks mainly centered on the A350-1000, the largest aircraft in the A350 range, the WSJ said on its website citing two people familiar with the talks.

The financial daily cited one of the people as saying the order could also include the smaller A350-900.

If a deal is agreed, it would be a win for EADS-owned Airbus over rival Boeing Co which is trying to sell British Airways the next version of its popular 777 wide-body jet, the paper reported.

However, the Journal said British Airways, which already has a large fleet of Boeing 777s, could still order the revamped 777X.

British Airways mainly operates Boeing aircraft on long-haul routes with its current Airbus planes, mainly from the A320 family, used on shorter runs, according to the airline's website.

However, the company also has 12 Airbus A380 super-jumbos on order, its website shows.

Airbus was not immediately available for comment. An IAG spokeswoman declined to comment.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Bangalore; Editing by Chris Reese)

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