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16 November 2017, 01:35 | Cedric Leonard
Airbus lands biggest-ever order with $49.5bn deal for 430 airliners
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.
Indigo will distribute the 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos among the four ultra-low-cost airlines, with Wizz getting the largest share. It will also see Airbus take 55% of the global market, and push the number of models sold above 5,500, since the launch of the A320neo in 2010 (compared to the 4,000 orders seen at Boeing since the launch of the rival 737 MAX).
For now, the headline total of nearly 700 jets covered by air show announcements fails to change the order battle as barely 30 of the deals so far represent finalised contracts. The venue has previously been the site of major deals between aircraft manufacturers and the big Middle East carriers, though order activity this year is more muted as Qatar Airways is banned from the event and Etihad Airways retrenches.
The flurry of orders for the global rivals came at the Dubai Air Show, one of a series of worldwide events where the two companies like to clinch big deals. It agreed to buy 150 Boeing 777X planes and 50 A380s, which were worth a total of $99 billion at list prices.
With the Airbus order, Indigo Partners, a USA -based private equity fund, has doubled its existing order of 427 A320 family aircraft.
Boeing's big deal of the day was an agreement with flydubai, the hometown airline, for the purchase of up to 225 more 737 MAX jets for a list-price value of $27 billion. If all the deals they each announced at the show are finalized before the end of the year, they will head into the last weeks of 2017 neck-and-neck in the race for the biggest annual order tally.
Wednesday's deal will see the 430 aircraft split between the Phoenix-based equity firm's Frontier Airlines and three other ultra low-priced airlines, including Mexico's Volaris; Hungary's Wizz Air; and Chile's JetSMART.
Indigo Partners is a Phoenix-based private equity firm which owns Frontier Airlines and part of Volaris. The agreement was signed with Kevin McAllister, the CEO and President of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
After opening the show with a 40-aircraft commitment from Emirates for the 787-10, Boeing has followed up with smaller orders from three other customers. Overall, Boeing has been eating Airbus's lunch so far this year, out-selling the Toulouse, France-based planemaker by 690 to 343.
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