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Air Arabia places $14bn order for 120 Airbus A320s

Air Arabia places $14bn order for 120 Airbus A320s

The deal includes 73 of the flagship A320neo, with a mix of the larger A321neo and long-distance A321XLR variants making up the remainder

Air Arabia PJSC ordered 120 Airbus SE narrow-body jets worth about $14bn at list prices, as the European planemaker scored its second blockbuster order of the day at the Dubai Airshow.

The agreement includes 73 of the flagship A320neo, with a mix of the larger A321neo and long-distance A321XLR variants making up the remainder. Air Arabia is already an Airbus operator.

“The A321 is a game-changer for Air Arabia’s business,” CEO Adel Ali told reporters. He said the planes would allow the discount airline to expand in southeast Asia and Africa as it formalizes a joint-venture plan with Etihad Airways.

Bloomberg reported on October 31 that Airbus was working to pin down the order. Earlier Monday, Airbus locked down a $16bn wide-body order with long-distanced carrier Emirates.

Ali told Bloomberg in February that he was considering a triple-digit jet deal with Airbus or Boeing to add destinations in Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. The company already ranks as the biggest discount carrier in the Gulf and North Africa.

A jet purchase would potentially help the Sharjah-based airline establish the planned jointly owned carrier, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, announced last month. Etihad is paring orders and shrinking its own network after racking up almost $5bn in losses over three years.

Air Arabia operates a multi-hub business with bases in Morocco and Egypt, as well as Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. It has a fleet of about 50 A320 aircraft together with a handful of leased A321neos.

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