'Big day' for AirAsia at Paris air show: airline head

23rd June 2011, Comments 0 comments

The boss of Malaysian airline AirAsia declared teasingly that Thursday would be a "big day" for his company at the Paris air show, amid reports he is about to announce a record plane purchase.

The trade show at the Le Bourget aerodrome north of Paris has been abuzz all week with rumours that the fast-growing carrier is about to order 200 of European planemaker Airbus' new generation A320neo medium-haul jets.

"Look where I am. Big day for AirAsia," the firm's chairman Tony Fernandes announced on Twitter, alongside a link to a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

Airbus chief commercial officer John Leahy also did nothing to dampen speculation. Asked at the show about Fernandes' visit, he told AFP: "I expect to see him very shortly."

If the much anticipated deal is concluded it will mark the biggest single airliner order in terms of number of airframes in history, beating Indian low cost carrier IndiGo's purchase Wednesday of 180 A320 jets.

Airbus was due to give a press conference later Thursday, the last trade day of the show before the doors are thrown open to the public on Friday, to summarise a week in which it has won billions of dollars in orders.

© 2011 AFP

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