Airbus says IndiGo to buy 180 A320s for $16.4 bn

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Indian airline IndiGo has signed an agreement to buy 180 Airbus A320 single-aisle aircraft in a record sale worth $16.4 billion (12.6 billion euros), the European plane maker said Tuesday.

"It is the largest single firm order number for large jets in commercial aviation history," Airbus said in a statement.

The low-cost airline has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire 150 of the new A320neo versions equipped with more efficient engines and fuel-saving wing tips, which Airbus plans to start delivering to clients in 2016.

The other 30 planes are to be standard versions of the A320.

The price of the deal was not announced, but according to Airbus' catalogue price is worth $16.4 billion.

The order will make IndiGo the launch customer of the A320neo, which Airbus unveiled only last month.

"This order for industry leading fuel efficient aircraft will allow IndiGo to continue to offer low fares," said Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, co-founders of IndiGo.

The aircraft are expected to deliver fuel savings of up to 15 percent, as well as consequent cuts in pollution.

"Ordering more A320s was the natural choice to meet India's growing flying needs. The opportunity to reduce costs and to further improve our environmental performance through the A320neo were key to our decision," they said in a statement.

"This order positions IndiGo to take full advantage of the predicted growth in Indian air travel and we are delighted that they continue to build their future with Airbus," said John Leahy, Airbus' Chief Operating Officer for Customers.

Airbus said it has delivered some 4,500 of the aircraft to 310 airlines, with another 1,300 on the order books, making it the world's best-selling single-aisle aircraft family.

© 2011 AFP

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