AirAsia announces 18 bln dollar order with Airbus

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Malaysian airline AirAsia on Thursday ordered a record 200 medium-haul Airbus A320neo passenger jets, a deal with a catalogue price of 18.2 billion dollars, both firms announced at the Paris air show.

"It's the largest ever in terms of number of aircraft," chairman Thomas Enders told reporters as he stood next to AirAsia head Tony Fernandes.

The A320neo is an upgraded and more fuel-efficient variant of the single-aisle workhorse A320, and it has emerged as the star of the Paris air show with hundreds of orders.

The medium-haul market is the most important of the industry and will likely account for nearly half of all commercial plane sales by value over the next 20 years, according to Airbus rival Boeing, which makes the rival 737 series.

© 2011 AFP

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