Airbus wins biggest jet order from Indigo Partners

An Airbus A380. For any potential replacement stepping into Airbus sales veteran John Leahy's shoes will be a big challenge. Pascal Rossignol  Reuters

An Airbus A380. For any potential replacement stepping into Airbus sales veteran John Leahy's shoes will be a big challenge. Pascal Rossignol Reuters

Franke, 80, flew to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday and was due to sign at the Dubai Airshow, marking one of the industry's biggest deals by volume and the most planes sold by Airbus in one batch, two people familiar with the matter said.

After final purchase deals with each are confirmed, likely by the end of the year, Hungary's Wiz Air will receive 72 A320neos and 74 A321neos, United States carrier Frontier Airlines will receive 100 A320neos and 34 A321neos, Chile's JetSMART will receive 56 A320neos and 14 A321neos and Mexico's Volaris will receive 46 A320neos and 34 A321neos.

The order by Indigo Partners trumps the 2015 order for 250 single-aisle planes valued at $27 billion by Indian budget carrier IndiGo.

"We've done a little research and we don't ‚Äéthink there's been a larger order ever", Franke said at the press conference in Dubai on Wednesday.

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The deal marks a dramatic turnaround for Airbus, which had been lagging behind Boeing in the contest for orders so far this year and had started the Nov 12-16 air show on a backfoot.

In addition, a separate deal for 175 jets from flyDubai, possibly to be split between Airbus and Boeing is also on the cards. It also has the right to substitute a number of the A320neo aircraft with the Airbus A321neo and vice versa, depending on its future requirements.

The deal marks a major coup for Airbus's Chief Operating Officer John Leahy, who is expected to leave the group soon at the end of a career in which he oversaw the sale of almost 15,000 planes.

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