Airbus racked up huge orders for its fuel-saving A320neo jetliner on Wednesday, even bagging the biggest single sale in aviation history, and overshadowing the arrival of Boeing’s much-hyped 787 Dreamliner at the Paris Air Show.
As airlines around the world worry about skyrocketing fuel prices, demand has surged for low-consumption planes.
Airbus’ A320neo, which the company claims is 15 percent more fuel-efficient than rival Boeing’s 737 thanks to an improved engine and modified wingtips, was the undisputed star of the Paris Air Show, the industry’s biggest annual event.
Airbus notched an order for 180 aircraft from Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo, the biggest single order a company has received in terms of planes.
Other orders for the A320neo came from Chilean carrier LAN Airlines and Kuwaiti leasing company ALAFCO, while U.S. carrier Frontier Airlines and Latin American carrier AviancaTaca made commitments for 131 more.
Airbus has now racked up more than 600 orders and commitments for the A320neo since it began marketing the jet last December.
The jet’s success poses a direct challenge to Boeing, which has yet to decide whether to respond with an upgraded 737 itself or to launch an entirely new aircraft.