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Airbus A350 begins maiden flight in France

ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION Europe's newest passenger jet, the Airbus A350, successfully began its maiden flight on Friday. More than 10,000 employees and spectators gathered outside Airbus's Toulouse plant in France to watch the jet take off. The flight was manned by two British and French former fighter pilots, and was expected to last four hours. It caps eight years of development worth an estimated $15 billion. The jet is seen as a milestone for Airbus as it battles against Boeing's 787 Dreamliner for sales of a new generation of lightweight carbon-composite jets designed to save fuel and open new long-distance routes. The long-awaited flight comes three days ahead of the Paris Airshow.

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