World Economy

Airbus, AirAsia Discussing $23 Billion Deal

Airbus, AirAsia Discussing $23 Billion DealAirbus, AirAsia Discussing $23 Billion Deal

The Malaysian airline, already the second-biggest customer for Airbus’s re-engined A320 narrow-body, is weighing an order for as many as 100 A321neo aircraft, according to people familiar with the discussions.

AirAsia is simultaneously close to agreeing to order an additional 34 A330neo wide-bodies, which would bring its total backlog for that aircraft to 100, Bloomberg reported.

The orders are still subject to final negotiations, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private talks. While no deal has been reached, the sides are close enough that at least part of the sale could be announced next week during the Farnborough Air Show outside London, the industry’s largest trade expo this year, the people said.

Airbus and AirAsia declined to comment.

The purchase of the A321neos would catapult AirAsia ahead of India’s Interglobe Aviation Ltd. as the biggest customer for Airbus’s marquee narrow-body jet, extending the Malaysian carrier’s existing orders to 504 planes.

Even more crucial for Airbus, a decision to take more of the larger A330neos would reaffirm AirAsia’s commitment to that wide-body program amid heavy competition with Boeing’s fast-selling 787 Dreamliner.

As negotiations heated up last week, AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes fired an unconventional shot at Airbus with a tweet en route to a meeting at the manufacturer’s Toulouse, France, headquarters:

“We have ordered the 330 but to finally confirm it we must make sure price is right. Performance is right. Engine is right,” Fernandes said on Twitter. “If right, the plane we dreamt of and fought for and then we can order more. Or else.”


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