Airbus wins record 200 jets order
Paris, June 24, 2011
Airbus has won a record-breaking order for 200 of its A320neo jets from AirAsia, capping a week where it has trounced rival Boeing in the fierce competition for plane contracts.
The massive contract is a show of force from Europe's Airbus as it battles Boeing in the market for single-aisle jets - currently its A320 versus Boeing's 737 - which is expected to be worth $2 trillion over the next 20 years.
The A320neo is a version of Airbus's best-selling 150-seat passenger jet offering fuel savings with new engines from 2015 and will heap pressure on Boeing to take a decision to either rework its current offering or come up with something new.
The deal wrapped up a frenetic biennial air show which demonstrated a shift in the balance of power in the industry.
AirAsia and IndiGo are now Airbus's first and second largest airline customers, lagging only the US leasing giants ILFC and Gecas.
'The runaway success of the neo exceeds Airbus' expectations and it had to do the same with Boeing,' said aviation analyst Scott Hamilton. 'This increases the pressure on Boeing several-fold to get moving with a decision to re-engine or do a new plane.'
The AirAsia order eclipsed a $16 billion order for 180 aircraft from India's IndiGo, sealed on Wednesday, as the biggest civil aircraft order by the number of planes.
It was the second time in as many days that an Asia low-cost carrier had broken that record, adding to evidence of a multi-speed recovery that has seen Asian economies plan for frenetic transport growth, especially in the low-cost sector.
AirAsia chief executive and Formula One boss Tony Fernandes described a 'remarkable ride' in the seven years since taking a tiny Malaysian carrier and transforming it into Airbus's largest airline-operated fleet with 375 aircraft delivered or on order.
Another low-cost airline, India's GoAir, confirmed a previously announced order for 72 A320neo aircraft.
Boeing does not tend to seal big orders at air shows but kept a mainly low profile as it ponders its next steps. However next year's show, held in Farnborough in the UK which rotates with Le Bourget, could put the planemakers in a more direct confrontation as each arrives with a fully formed strategy.-Reuters