American Airlines, the third-largest US airline,
on Wednesday made the largest order in aviation history, splitting it
between rival manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.
It plans to acquire 460 narrow body, single-aisle aircraft from the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families, between 2013-22, said a statement from AMR Corp, the parent company of American Airlines based in Fort Worth, Texas.
Boeing's 737 costs about 81 million dollars at list price; the Airbus A320 costs about 85 million dollars, Bloomberg news reported.
American Airlines will also take options and purchase rights for 465 additional aircraft.
"This agreement highlights our focus on investing in our fleet for the benefit of our shareholders, customers and employees," said Tom Horton, the president of AMR Corp.
"The addition of these Next-Generation 737s will play a critical role in replacing our narrow body fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft offering state-of-the-art customer features," Horton said.
The deal paves the way for the entry of Airbus into the US market, as American Airlines has so far had only Boeing aircraft in its fleet. American hasn't ordered Airbus jets since 1987, according to Bloomberg.
The company will acquire 260 fuel-efficient Airbus A320 aircraft - equally divided between the current model and the "neo" version with new engines.
At the Paris Air Show in June, Airbus roared ahead of Boeing with a record 18.5-billion-dollar order for 200 Airbus A320 Neo passenger planes - which have answered a market demand for regional airlines that use less fuel and are more environment friendly.
"We are extremely proud and gratified once again to count American Airlines among Airbus' global customers," said Airbus CEO Tom Enders.
"The order by American represents a strong endorsement of our constantly improving single-aisle product line."
Boeing confirmed that American Airlines plans to acquire 200 of its narrow body airplanes, with options for 100 more.
"American Airlines is an industry leader whose vision and disciplined approach to growth has made it one of the largest airlines in the world," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh.
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