Airbus Hits, Boeing Misses In Dogfight Over Lion Air $20 Billion Deal

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By J.J. McGrath | March 18, 2013 12:05 PM EST

The Airbus unit of EADS NV (EPA:EAD) apparently has bested the Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) in landing a megadeal with the Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air that could be worth about €15.3 billion ($20.0 billion).

French President Francois Hollande will be at a ceremonial deal-signing Monday, when it is anticipated Lion Air will announce its purchase of more than 200 aircraft in the A320 series, according to Agence France-Presse via Google. AFP cited as its primary source the Paris-based financial newspaper Les Echos.

Neither Airbus nor the president's office would confirm the deal, AFP noted, but the news agency pointed out the president's office said in a statement earlier Sunday that Hollande would host Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier to celebrate the signing of "a major industrial agreement" Monday. Score one for Les Echos.

The meeting is planned for 10 a.m. GMT (6 a.m. EDT) at the presidential palace.

Based on the Airbus catalog in January, AFP said the standard A320 model is priced at $91.5 million apiece, while the more fuel-efficient A320neo model is priced at more than $100 million each.

News of the apparent Airbus deal with Lion Air comes two days after the aerospace manufacturer announced Turkish Airlines, the largest airline in Turkey, has signed a contract for as many as 117 aircraft in the A320 series: 53 A321neo, 25 A321ceo, and four A320neo, as well as options on 35 A321neo. This order could be worth between $9.3 billion and $15.5 billion, AFP reported.

Airbus was outsold by Boeing in 2012 for the first time in six years, and the former trails the latter again this year, according to monthly data cited by Reuters.

Of course, these monthly data do not yet include the Airbus deals struck this week.

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