Airbus wins biggest jet order from Indigo Partners

Wednesday, 15 Nov, 2017

Indigo Partners is a Phoenix-based private equity firm which owns Frontier Airlines and part of Volaris. Airlines and manufacturers negotiate lower prices for big deals like these, something Indigo's managing partner Bill Franke was quick to stress afterward speaking to journalists.

But the biggest order by value came from Emirates airline of Dubai in 2013.

The Airbus aircraft, whose wings are made in the United Kingdom, will be deployed across Indigo's airlines, which also include Frontier in the USA, and JetSmart in Chile.

On Sunday, Emirates appeared to snub Airbus over an A380 superjumbo deal.

If all the deals they each announced at the show are finalized before the end of the year, they will head into the last weeks of 2017 neck-and-neck in the race for the biggest annual order tally. "Airbus fits the bill".

Aerospace giant Airbus has today announced a deal worth almost $50bn (£37.bn) with private equity firm Indigo Partners, which it hailed as its largest single announcement ever.

Wednesday's deal beats a 2015 order for 250 single-aisle planes valued at $27bn by Indian budget carrier IndiGo. The two companies are unrelated.

The surprise announcement comes after Airbus on Sunday suffered the embarrassment of believing it had struck a major deal with the state-owned carrier Emirates to sell its A380 double-decker jumbo jet, only to see Boeing sit on the podium with the airline and sign a $15.1 billion deal. "Regretfully, Indigo will not be paying $49.5bn", said Airbus sale chief John Leahy when asked about discounts.

The deal marks a major coup for Airbus's Chief Operating Officer John Leahy, who is expected to leave the group soon at the end of a career in which he oversaw the sale of almost 15,000 planes.

He has sold more than 15,000 jets worth an estimated $1.7 trillion.

The deal marks a dramatic turnaround for Airbus, which had been lagging behind Boeing in the contest for orders so far this year and had started the Nov 12-16 air show on a backfoot.

But the A380 announcement was cancelled minutes before a press conference convened. I've known Mr. Leahy for 25 years. "You'll just have to walked over there [to Emirates' show chalet] and ask them", he told reporters.