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Airbus signs near $50B deal with U.S. firm for 430 jets

By Sara Shayanian
Airbus signs near $50B deal with U.S. firm for 430 jets
Airbus on Wednesday announced it will sell 430 aircraft to a U.S. private equity firm, a deal worth an estimated $49.5 billion. Photo by Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- European aircraft-maker Airbus struck the biggest deal in its history at the Dubai Air Show on Wednesday, getting a U.S. private equity firm to buy 430 planes for nearly $50 billion.

Aviation investor Bill Franke of Indigo Partners signed the order to buy more than 400 of Airbus' A320neo and A321neo aircraft -- for airlines Wizz Air, Frontier Airlines, Jetsmart and Mexico's Volaris.

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A320neos list for $108 million each, and A321neos at $127 million, but carriers typically negotiate rates for bulk orders.

"We've done a little research and we don't ‎think there's been a larger order ever," Frank said.

The list price for the total order is $49.5 billion, but the final cost hasn't been revealed.

"Here's hoping," Frank said. "Their objective is to sell aircraft at the best possible and our objective is to buy aircraft at the best possible price."

Airbus' previous record deal was made in 2015 when it sold 250 A320neos to Indian budget airline IndiGo -- a transaction worth about $26 billion.

Airbus sales chief John Leahy said the big bulk order wouldn't affect the company's production rate.

"It's particularly gratifying to all of us at Airbus when it comes from a group of airline professionals who know our products as well as the folks at Indigo Partners do," Leahy said. "We are proud to augment their airline fleets."

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Airbus suffered an embarrassing blow to rival Boeing at the start of Wednesday's Dubai Air Show, when it failed to land a deal with Emirates. Boeing, instead, received the $15 billion contract.

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