Airbus in $40 b deal to sell 430 A320s to U.S. firm

Airbus revealed its largest single announcement ever Wednesday, a 49.5 billion US dollars deal with USA private equity firm Indigo Partners to purchase 430 aircraft in its A320neo family, described as Airbus' largest ever single announcement.

Franke, whose Phoenix-based Indigo Partners controls Frontier Airlines and owns part of Mexico's Volaris, flew to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday and was expected to sign the deal at the Dubai Airshow, marking one of the industry's biggest ever deals by volume, two people familiar with the matter said. They are US company Frontier Airlines, Mexico's Volaris, Chilean carrier JetSmart and Hungary's Wizz.

The surprise 430-aircraft order by Airbus comprises a commitment for 273 A320neos (new engine options) and 157 A321neos.

Earlier this week, Ahmed Jazzar, Boeing's Saudi president, told Bloomberg that Saudi Arabian Airlines, the state-run carrier, would be a great fit for the plane. The aircraft will be delivered in 2018 and 2019.

"Regretfully, Indigo will not be paying $49.5bn", said Airbus sale chief John Leahy when asked about any possible discounts.

The agreement was signed with Indigo Partners to build the plans for four airlines that company owns.

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Meanwhile, Boeing reached an agreement with low-priced carrier FlyDubai to sell 225 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft - a deal valued at $27 billion.

The transaction includes a new order for two freighters.

The despite the mega-order, celebrations at Airbus would be muted as the aircraft maker has failed to attract a single buyer for the A380 in Dubai, having been snubbed by the model's biggest buyer Emirates. The developments came ahead of the biennial air show closing on Thursday.

FlyDubai said the planes would bring the low-priced carriers total fleet on order up to 320.

The air show is proving a positive one for Airbus, who began the annual event lagging behind rival Boeing in the order department in 2017, so far.

Shortly after the Airbus news conference, FlyDubai and Chicago-based Boeing Co. announced their $27 billion deal.

  • Darren Santiago