AirAsia set to trump IndiGo with larger order

Le Bourget, Paris: Even as Airbus announced a historic 'largest transaction in civil aviation' with Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo, for 180 confirmed orders for its fuel efficient A320neos, the order may well be trumped by another Asian budget carrier, Malaysia's AirAsia. AirAsia is all set to trump IndiGo with a record order for 200 A320neo jets plus 100 options in a deal worth $17 billion at list prices.

The deal, expected to be finalized at the Paris Air Show on Thursday, would also make the Malaysian carrier Airbus's largest airline customer, industry sources said.

The A320neo is a version of Airbus's best-selling 150-seat passenger jet the A320 and offers fuel savings of 15 per cent with new engines. First deliveries are scheduled from 2015.

AirAsia is still to take delivery of 86 standard A320s from an earlier order for 175 aircraft.

With the finalisation of the deal the Indian carrier, IndiGo, will become the second-largest operator of Airbus aircraft.

Leasing giants ILFC and GECAS of the United States own larger fleets but rent them out to airlines that fly the aircraft.

At the Paris Air Show, Airbus has reported firm orders, plus options, for 545 A320neo aircraft. Airbus commercial sales chief, John Leahy, said he was confident that total orders would cross 1,000 aircraft by the time the show comes to a close over the weekend.