AirAsia X to buy 50 Airbus jets

Malaysian airline AirAsia X Tuesday signed an outline agreement to buy 50 A330-900neo passenger planes from Airbus NV, the European planemaker said at the the Farnborough, UK airshow.

The deal is worth $13.75 billion at catalogue prices. Plans for the neo, a new version of the long-standing A330 with upgraded Rolls-Royce engines, were launched by Airbus at the show Monday.

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes has pushed Airbus to fit new engines on its A330, which is popular in Asia on high-density routes. The company would be the first airline to sign up for the jet, after Airbus pulled in three orders for the aircraft from leasing companies at the event since yesterday.

AirAsia X Bhd, the long-haul low-fare affiliate of AirAsia Bhd, already operates 23 Airbus A330 aircraft.

In December, Airbus won a deal from AirAsia X for 25 A330s valued at $6 billion. The orders were for the A330-300 variant with deliveries starting 2015.

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