AirAsia placed a record order at the Paris Air Show with a record for 200 revamped A320neo jets plus 100 options in a deal worth $18.2 billion.
AirAsia chief executive and Formula One boss Tony Fernandes arrived at the show overnight to sign off the deal, which wraps up a busy week at the Paris Air Show led by Asian carriers placing a raft of massive orders.
The AirAsia order eclipsed a $16 billion order for 180 aircraft from India’s Indigo, sealed on Wednesday, as the biggest ever civil aircraft order by the number of planes.
AirAsia also plans to take another 86 aircraft already on order from Airbus to supply growth in its markets.
The largest ever order for A320-family aircraft is the third biggest in value for Airbus behind major wide-body orders from Emirates and Qatar Airways.
Qatar was tipped to buy five Airbus A380 superjumbos this week but a deal has so far failed to materialise.
The AirAsia deal for the A320neo adds to evidence of a multi-speed recovery that has seen Asian economies plan for frenetic transport growth, especially from the low-cost carriers.
Another low-cost airline, India’s GoAir, confirmed a previously announced order for 72 A320neo aircraft.
So far this week Airbus has reported firm or provisional orders for 545 A320neo aircraft. Including pre-show deals, there are signs it will reach close to 1,000 A320neo firm deals or provisional agreements by the end of the week.
The size of orders may put pressure on Boeing to make a decision on whether to re-engine its competing 737 airplane in 2016 or wait a few years longer and build an all-new model from scratch to offer even greater benefits.
Boeing has said it will make the strategy decision affecting airlines and its suppliers by the end of the year, and has vowed not to base its thinking on what Airbus does.