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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 08:17 GMT
Easyjet fleet adds 20 new planes
Easyjet plane in flight
Easyjet is paying around 25m for each of its new A319 planes
Budget airline Easyjet is spending 505m ($878m) on 20 new Airbus A319 planes for its fleet.

Easyjet said the planes would be delivered during 2008 and 2009 and would help ensure its "continued growth to the end of the decade".

Last month the airline announced that passenger numbers had risen 21% to 29.6m in 2005, helping to deliver a 9% rise in profits to 68m.

The Luton-based carrier operates 212 routes to 64 airports.

Earlier deal

The new planes are part of an option agreement from a previous deal to buy 120 aircraft from Airbus in 2003.

Under the terms of that agreement Easyjet had the right to buy up to 120 extra jets at the same basic price, subject to inflation.

Earlier this week, low-cost rival Ryanair said the late delivery of four new aircraft would lead to it carrying 100,000 fewer passengers each month between January and March.

It blamed a strike at manufacturer Boeing earlier this year for the problems, but said they would have little effect on its profit forecasts.

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