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Airbus seals biggest-ever sales deal with US fund    

John Leahy, Airbus Sales Chief, and Bill Franke, Managing Partner of Indigo Partners LLC, pose during a news conference at the Dubai Airshow in Dubai. (Photo by Reuters)

European aviation giant Airbus has announced its biggest ever order which was sealed with US investment firm Indigo Partners.  

The deal was signed on the sidelines of the Dubai Air Show and involved 430 medium-range A320 planes at a list price of $49.5 billion (€42 billion).

The company’s chief, as quoted by news agencies, described the move as “remarkable”.

"An order for 430 aircraft is remarkable," AFP quoted Airbus chief operating officer, John Leahy, as saying. "But it's particularly gratifying to all of us at Airbus when it comes from a group of airline professionals who know our products as well as the folks at Indigo Partners do."

The announcement sent Airbus's share price soaring, rising by more than 3.0 percent to €86.09 in a generally softer market.

Airbus's Fabrice Bergier told AFP that the contract was a "new sign of confidence" in the European planemaker's jets.

"It's an overwhelming success for Airbus and its A320 aircraft," he said.

The order would be for 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos, the revamped and more fuel efficient version of Airbus's most popular single aisle passenger jet, the A320.

Indigo Partners' founder and chief Bill Franke said the deal "underscores our optimistic view of the growth potential of our family of low-cost airlines”.

The deal is reported to have been designed to supply four airlines in which Franke’s Indigo Partners has stakes: Frontier Airlines of the US, Mexico’s Volaris, Chilean carrier JetSmart and Hungary’s Wizz Air.

The final amount of the contract was not revealed, since it is customary for aircraft manufacturers to grant rebates on the list price, depending on the volume of the order, AFP added.

But the contract would more than double Airbus's current order book for this year, which had stood at 288 planes at the end of October.

It would also place Airbus, with a total 718 orders this year, ahead of its arch-rival Boeing which has 605 orders.




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