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CIT Signs Big Airbus Order

The pact is worth about $2.2 billion.
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CIT Group

(CIT) - Get CIT Group Inc. Report

struck a pact to buy airplanes worth about $2.2 billion from


, a deal the company says will help its position in commercial aviation finance.

The purchase agreement covers 24 planes from the A320 family that are scheduled for delivery in 2007 and 2008, along with five A350s to be delivered in 2012 and 2013. CIT, based in New York, also has options to acquire additional airplanes.

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CIT provides commercial and consumer financing. The company's CIT Aerospace division leases, finances and manages more than 200 commercial aircraft and 110 regional jets to more than 120 airlines worldwide. The majority of the fleet is leased to customers outside the U.S.

Airbus, a joint venture of European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. and BAE Systems, competes with


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for buyers of its aircraft.

"We have seen significant improvement in the outlook for the international commercial aerospace sector," said Rick Wolfert, the vice chairman of CIT commercial finance. "Demand from our clients for new aircraft is strong and growing, and rental rates have rebounded nicely."