Friday, June 17, 2011

Record Asian order dominates Paris air fest

PARIS/ATLANTA (Reuters) - A record 200-plane order from Asia's largest budget carrier looks set to dominate a jackpot of deals at next week's Paris Air Show in clear evidence of a multi-speed recovery shaping global industry, sources said.

While Western powers display military hardware that their armies can no longer guarantee to buy, all eyes at the world's largest air show will be on civil demand from growth-hungry Asia which has supplanted North America as the busiest travel market.

The roughly $17 billion deal from Malaysia's AirAsia (AIRA.KL) for revamped Airbus (EAD.PA) A320 jets is seen as the centerpiece of an industry show once again buzzing with orders.

"With the global economy, you're seeing some soft spots but yet you're also seeing some acceleration in some parts of the world. We are seeing a lot from Asia-Pacific and the developing economies," said Gleacher & Co analyst Peter Arment.

Sources close to the deal, which is still being finalized, said AirAsia was expected to beat a record for the largest number of planes sold in one contract, even before a recent 180-plane order from India's IndiGo is formally signed.

The deal will also be a boost for French-U.S. engine venture CFM International, owned by GE (GE.N) and Safran (SAF.PA), which is scrambling to catch up with rival Pratt & Whitney (UTX.N)

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