Controversial Airbus revamp proves successful

Airbus logo on one of its models

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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.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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