Airbus wins biggest jet order from Indigo Partners

A plane of Al Fursan or the Knights a UAE Air Force aerobatic display team performs during the Dubai Air Show United Arab Emirates Monday Nov. 13 2017

Media reports said that European planemaker Airbus was due to announce the sale of 430 of its medium-range A320 aircraft to United States investment firm Indigo Partners in a deal worth more than $40 billion (€33.9 billion).

The stunning magnitude of the deal - which Airbus called its "largest single commercial announcement ever" - caught many in the aviation industry by surprise.

"An order for 430 aircraft is remarkable, 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".

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The air show is proving a positive one for Airbus, who began the annual event lagging behind rival Boeing in the order department in 2017, so far.

Under the deal on Wednesday, Airbus will sell its bestselling upgraded single-aisle jets to Indigo Partners' low-priced carriers that include Wizz Air (Hungary), Frontier Airlines (United States), JetSMART (Chile) and Volaris (Mexico), to boost their fleets. Indigo has stakes in all ‎four airlines.

American Airlines in 2011 ordered 460 new planes in a single deal, but that was spread between both Boeing and Airbus. An order of 20 jets would be valued at US$8.7 billion while an order for 36 of the aircraft would be worth $15.7bn at list prices before discount.

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Worth almost $50 billion at list prices, the deal is a major rebound for Airbus, which has significantly lagged its US arch rival Boeing in orders this year. The A320 is the most successful plane model of Airbus which competes with Boeing's 737.

Wednesday's historic deal represents a final grand act for Airbus's chief salesman, John Leahy, who plans to retire from the company once a successor is selected.

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