LE BOURGET, France (AP) — Airbus says aircraft leasing company ILFC made a firm order Monday for 50 short-haul A320neo jets, kicking off the Paris Air Show with a robust start for the European plane maker.
Financial details were not disclosed Monday. According to list prices, the order would be worth $5 billion, but customers often negotiate steep discounts. Los Angeles-based ILFC, or International Lease Finance Corporation, is Airbus' biggest customer.
The A320neo, a more fuel-efficient model than the original and widely used A320, was the star of the last Paris Air Show.
This year Airbus is hoping to attract attention to its new wide-body A350 aircraft.
Fernando Alonso, head of Airbus' flight test division, said the plane's maiden flight last Friday went exactly as the simulator had predicted, and just like Airbus planes currently in operation. That's a selling point for airlines reluctant to take the time or expense to retrain pilots.
Once again, the air show is expected to showcase the Airbus-Boeing rivalry. The A350 is Airbus' best chance to catch up with Boeing's 787 and 777 in the race to sell wide-body jets used on long-haul flights.
Airbus also announced a potential order Monday for its superjumbo A380 jets, which has seen disappointing sales in a time of economic slowdown. Another leasing company, Doric Lease Corp., signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of 20 A380s.