Airbus logo on one of its models
Airbus logo on one of its models - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The European plane-maker Airbus has just pulled off what it calls the biggest sale in the history of commercial aviation. The company has sold around $15 billion worth of aircraft to a budget airline in India.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports, the deal's gonna put a lot of pressure on Airbus's biggest rival, Boeing.

STEPHEN BEARD: Airbus says its firm order includes 150 of its new A320 NEO jets. This is not a completely new plane. It's an upgraded version of the popular single aisle aircraft. Airbus' decision to revamp the plane with a more fuel efficient engine was controversial. Boeing dismissed the move. The U.S. company said most airlines would prefer to wait for an all-new model. The deal announced today vindicates Airbus says Laurie Price, an aviation expert with consulting firm Mott McDonald.

LAURIE PRICE: The key thing is that in a time of escalating fuel price Airbus are offering airlines looking at re-equipment with an option that will give substantial fuel savings.

Boeing had indicated that it would not carry out a similar revamp on its best-selling single aisle plane -- the 737. In the light of today's deal by Airbus Boeing may now change its mind.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.