Airbus wins landmark Lion Air order: sources

Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:32pm EDT
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By Ingrid Melander and Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's Airbus has landed a record order potentially worth $20 billion at list prices from Indonesia's Lion Air, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday, smashing rival Boeing's (BA.N: Quote) grip on one of the world's fastest-growing airlines.

In a sign of the rising importance of Asian budget carriers for high-tech manufacturing jobs, the deal is set to be announced on Monday at a ceremony overseen by French President Franciois Hollande, the sources said, asking not to be named.

EADS EAD.PA subsidiary Airbus declined comment.

France said earlier Hollande would meet Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier on Monday to celebrate "a major industrial deal," but withheld further details.

The red-carpet event mirrors a record 201-plane order for equivalent Boeing aircraft from Lion Air signed in front of visiting U.S. President Barack Obama in late 2011, sparking European claims of U.S. political pressure which Washington and Boeing denied.

The sources said the new Airbus A320-family order from Lion Air, founded by travel entrepreneur Rusdi Kirana, could top that number.

Kirana could not immediately be reached for comment.

Southeast Asia has emerged as one of the most fertile markets for popular medium-haul jets built by Airbus and Boeing, as rising incomes and a growing middle class boost air traffic.   Continued...

A Lion aircraft prepares to land at the Sukarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang on the outskirts of Jakarta in this January 30, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni/Files