AirAsia seals $9.4-billion Airbus order

AirAsia confirmed a $9.4-billion order for 100 more Airbus jets on Thursday, making it the European planemaker's largest airline customer by number of planes ordered.

The deal for 64 revamped, fuel-efficient A320neo jets and 36 current-generation A320s comes on top of 375 similar planes already ordered by Asia's largest low-cost carrier. "We have just bought 100 planes which makes a total of 475. To meet the amazing demand in Asia," AirAsia owner Tony Fernandes wrote on Twitter.

The deal is worth $9.4 billion at list prices but in practice aircraft are sold at significant discounts.

Britain, which co-operates in building Airbus planes together with France, Germany and Spain, said the deal would safeguard 9,000 British jobs including 1,500 at Airbus itself.

"This is excellent news and a tremendous boost for the workforce and for UK manufacturing," British PM David Cameron's office said in a statement.

Cameron, who eyes manufacturing as crucial to a rebalancing the British economy away from sectors like financial services, was at the Airbus wings factory in Wales when the announcement was made. Together, Cameron and Fernandes toured the Broughton plant, which employs over 5,000 people.

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