Indigo Partners to acquire 50 A321XLR jets from Airbus

In terms of dollar value, Boeing's commitments are valued at $31.8 billion (list prices) compared with a dollar value of $31.6 billion for Airbus's orders and commitments.

It was not immediately clear how numerous 200 aircraft eyed by IAG would wind up as firm orders and how many would be options, nor how it would affect Airbus's presence at IAG, which placed an order for 14 A321XLR hours before the announcement.

Airbus plans to launch the A321XLR with a maximum take-off weight of 101 tonnes and a range of 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) based on some 210 seats, reaching as far as 4,800 miles.

IAG was not immediately available for comment, but said earlier in the week that it did not comment on negotiations.

Paris: Indigo Partners, the private equity firm of veteran low-priced airline investor Bill Franke, agreed on Wednesday to acquire 50 of the new long-range version of Airbus' A321neo jet.

Airbus will fit the A321XLR with the same Airspace cabin as the twin-aisle A330neo and A350 jets - a package combining a quieter cabin, LED lighting and larger overhead storage bins.

Boeing said that the order will be added to its Orders and Deliveries website once the deal is finalized.

The company got a boost on Tuesday, however, when International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and other carriers, signed a letter of intent for 200 Boeing 737 aircraft.

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Shares in both companies rose less than 1 percent.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, has made a decision to expand its existing A320neo family order from 35 to as many as 100 neo aircraft including 35 options.

The shock announcement came midway through the exhibition and helped Boeing clear some of the gloom surrounding the 737 Max by instilling a measure of confidence in its future. Korean Air had been one of the customers for the A380.

Yet the biggest issue hovering over the show was the grounding of the MAX, which secures supplier profits for the next decade, while on the defense side of the show a Franco-German pairing and Turkey each unveiled new fighter designs.

Meanwhile, Boeing is delaying decisions on the launch of a possible new aircraft, the mid-sized NMA, to give full attention to the 737 MAX, industry sources said.

The A321XLR is expected to enter service in 2023.

The two sides also traded blows over competition for wide-body jets, with each scoring key wins in Asia.

Boeing has been criticised for what some PR experts consider a lawyer-driven and wooden response to the three-month-old MAX crisis, though Muilenburg has said it is approaching the Paris Airshow with humility and stressing safety as its top priority.

  • Darren Santiago