Multinational corporation Airbus plans to sell 430 airplanes to the Phoenix-based equity firm Frontier Airlines for $49.5 billion. The deal was signed on Wednesday making it the company’s biggest transaction to date at the Dubai Air Show.
The deal was made on the penultimate day of the Dubai Air Show. Frontier’s owner, Indigo Partners, will get the fleet of A32neo-family jets which will then be deployed among Indigo’s airlines. Indigo’s managing partner, Bill Franke, flew to Dubai to seal the transaction although sources report the deal is still in its preliminary stages.
The announcement was a breath of fresh air after another deal between Airbus and Emirates fell through on Sunday. The company was supposed to pen a major deal with the carrier to sell its A380 jumbo jet. In the end, Airbus’ rival, Boeing, signed the $15.1 billion transaction with Emirates.
The private equity firm has stakes in several airlines where the 430 A32’s will be redistributed including Europe’s Wizz Air, Mexico’s Volaris, Chile’s JetSmart, and the previously mentioned Frontier Airlines.
Selling this particular Airbus craft is an effective strategy according to Franke. He emphasized the A32’s sturdiness and low maintenance nature.
“To be successful you have to have a plane that can be worked hard. Airbus fits the bill.”
Indian carrier, IndiGo, was the previous company to hold the biggest order of airplanes in 2015. The deal was for 250 single-aisle planes valued at $27 billion.
The Boeing Company almost had the biggest deal at the Dubai Air Show after completing a $40 billion transaction with 787 Dreamliners from Emirates.
The newest deal comes just in time for Airbus’ sales chief, John Leahy, retirement. The 67-year-old has worked in the company for twenty years and hoped for one last big deal before he leave. Over the course of his career, Leahy more than fifteen thousand jets valued at around $1.7 trillion in total.
According to Airbus, the deal is expected to be finalized in the following weeks.
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