Airbus is nearing the biggest deal in its history, negotiating to sell 430 A320neo single-aisle planes valued at more than $40 billion to US investor Indigo Partners, people familiar with the matter said.
The pact would give Airbus the upper hand at the Dubai Air Show, where it has been trailing Boeing Co. in orders. The purchase would also mark a crowning achievement for Airbus sales chief John Leahy, who is set to retire after a multi-decade career in which he built the order book into thousands of aircraft and lifted the European planemaker into a duopoly position with its US rival.
For Indigo Partners, led by Bill Franke, the Airbus deal would provide upgraded single-aisle jetliners to boost the fleets of ultra-low-cost carriers from Denver to Budapest. The aircraft would go to airlines in Indigo’s investment portfolio: Frontier Airlines, Mexico’s Volaris, European carrier Wizz Air Holdings and upstart JetSmart, which began operating this year in Chile, the people said.
The Airbus-Indigo transaction is set to be announced Wednesday, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. Based on the list price of the A320neo, Airbus’s best-selling single-aisle jet, the purchase would be worth $46.6 billion before customary discounts if Indigo exercises all its rights to the aircraft.
A spokesman for Airbus declined to comment, as did Indigo. Airbus has scheduled a press conference at 11am in Dubai.
Even with a massive haul from Indigo, Airbus may not be done at the Dubai event. Other mooted orders may still materialise on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter have said, including an accord with EgyptAir Airlines for A320neo single-aisle aircraft and one with discount carrier FlyDubai. The latter is weighing an order for as many as 175 narrow-body planes that could be split between Airbus’s A321neo and Boeing’s 737 Max. More info
By Bloomberg arabianbusiness.com