AirAsia could order upto 200 Airbus aircraft

AirAsia and Airbus are in negotiations for a 200 aircraft deal that could overshadow the industry's largest ever 180-aircraft order placed by Indian budget carrier Indigo with Airbus. If it fructifies, the order could dominate the Paris Air Show, industry sources said.

With fuel costs threatening to determine balance sheets of global airlines, Airbus is marketing a new version of its best-selling A320 passenger jet with new engines. The A320neo, it claims, could save 15 per cent in fuel costs.

First deliveries are promised from 2015.

Industry sources say Malaysia-based AirAsia may be negotiating an order anywhere in the range of 150-200 aircraft. If the final order comes in at 200 it would overtake India budget carrier IndiGo's huge 180-aircraft order.

Such a deal would be worth $14-18 billion at list prices, depending on the exact model of aircraft involved, with the understanding that large orders of this nature generate significant discounts.

AirAsia officials said talks are continuing.

The airline has 175 original design A320s on order, of which 89 have been delivered.

AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes has ambitions of doubling the size of his nine-year-old fleet to rival Southwest Airlines' fleet of more than 500 jets.