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Airbus sells 234 planes to Lion Air in $24 billion deal

03/18/2013 | Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus (EAD.PA) has signed a 18.4-billion-euro deal ($24 billion) with low-cost Indonesian carrier Lion Air for 234 single-aisle passenger planes, poaching one of archrival Boeing's fastest growing customers.

French President Francois Hollande's office on Monday called the deal with Lion Air, traditionally a client of Boeing (BA.N), "the biggest for Airbus in terms of the number of aircraft and the overall sum."

The contract for the A320 planes trumped that between Lion Air and Boeing in 2011 for 201 planes worth $22 billion. Lion Air has been rapidly growing its fleet to meet the need for medium-haul jets servicing the growing aviation market in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country.

Shares in Airbus parent EADS were down 1.3 percent on Monday, roughly in line with a wider decline in France's benchmark CAC40 .FCHI index.

The landmark order includes 109 A320neo and 64 A321neo planes - with the neo designating the newest fuel-saving type of the narrow-body jets - as well as 60 A320 "classic" planes.

While below a recent peak, airplane demand remains robust as airlines and lessors modernize fleets in a bid to drive down fuel costs, while emerging markets continue to grow strongly.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus and Tim Hepher. Writing By Alexandria Sage and Christian Plumb; Editing by Mark John and Mark Potter)

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