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Airbus clinches $11 billion easyJet order

An EasyJet Airbus aircraft is seen at Ljubljana's airport Brnik February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic
An EasyJet Airbus aircraft is seen at Ljubljana's airport Brnik February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

LONDON (Reuters) - Airbus clinched a deal on Tuesday worth about $11 billion to supply British budget airline easyJet with 135 planes, dealing a blow to its U.S. rival Boeing .

EasyJet agreed to buy 35 current-generation A320 aircraft and 100 new-generation A320neo jets, with options for a further 100, the airline announced on the second day of the Paris Airshow.

The total list price of the planes would be about $11.5 billion, though easyJet said that it had negotiated a "very substantial" discount.

Airbus and Boeing have both been pitching commercial terms to Europe's second-largest budget carrier in recent weeks, with Airbus emerging as the front-runner by last week, sources told Reuters last Thursday.

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said that both planemakers had competed hard for the business.

"Ultimately, Airbus offered us the best deal, and at a price with a greater discount to the list price than their landmark fleet purchase with easyJet in 2002," she said.

EasyJet began operations in 1995 with Boeing aircraft but shifted to Airbus in 2002 with a deal for 120 A319s, plus options for a further 120, after a bitter competition.

The A320 aircraft will be delivered between 2015 and 2017 under an existing agreement, easyJet said, and the next-generation aircraft are due to be delivered between 2017 and 2022 under a new deal.

It said that it had also agreed rights to buy up to a further 100 A320neo planes.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle and Rosalba O'Brien in London; Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris; Editing by David Goodman)

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