24 Jun 2011

Airlines queue up for new Airbus jets

1:17 pm on 24 June 2011

Airbus is piling up the orders at the Paris air show after announcing the largest single order of commercial aircraft in history.

Malaysia's low-cost carrier, AirAsia, is buying 200 of the A320neo jets in a deal worth about $US18 billion, the BBC reports.

That eclipsed a deal on Wednesday, when India's IndiGo confirmed an order for 180 planes from Airbus.

The new versions of the A320 are in demand as their new engines make them more fuel-efficient and cheaper to run.

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes says the airline now has 100 aircraft, from just two planes nine years ago, and he is expecting the Asia-Pacific travel market to continue to grow at a rapid pace.

Airbus has taken firm orders at the show for 586 aircraft worth about $US55.8 billion, with a further $US29.5 billion in provisional orders.

Meanwhile, Boeing has taken firm orders for just 47 planes worth $7.5 billion and another $14.9 billion in provisional orders.