Delta may place order for 100 Airbus A321neo jets

Delta agrees to purchase up to 200 Airbus jets

Eric Thayer/2014 Getty Images

The total value of the 200 aircraft is $25.4 billion at list prices.

Delta Air Lines looked close on Wednesday to placing an order for 100 Airbus A321neo jets in a boost for the European planemaker as it tries to narrow a 2017 order gap against Boeing, two people familiar with the matter said. However, Delta will retain the option of buying a further 100 aircraft that could take the transaction in excess of $25bn.

However, it is an industry norm for airlines to receive major discounts on bulk orders such as the one placed by Delta.

According to Airbus, a significant number of the mega order will be produced at the manufacturer's plant in Mobile, Alabama with deliveries starting in early 2020 and ending in 2023.

Airbus has been in discussions with Pratt & Whitney to ensure that enough engines are available to support the pledge to supply 100 jets to Delta as the USA engine maker works through recent industrial problems, they added. Airbus said in a statement that "most" of the 100 will be assembled in the U.S. The plane maker said it is considering increasing output at the factory beyond the four jets it makes each month.

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Airbus said the A321neo jets will be manufactured at its production facility in Mobile, Alabama, the same location where Bombardier's USA -bound CSeries jets are expected to be produced.

Airbus in 2015 opened a manufacturing plant in Mobile, Alabama to build single-aisle planes with an eye towards competing more aggressively in the United States market.

The Delta order is expected to be the final mega-deal brokered by Airbus' legendary sales chief before his retirement at the end of the year. Delta's announcement on the A321neo ACF follows several orders in recent years for the current engine option (ceo) version of the A321.

Boeing's 737-MAX10 was also believed to be under consideration.

The Airbus order comes amid public friction between Delta and USA giant Boeing over a trade dispute involving a separate Delta deal to buy planes from Canadian company Bombardier.

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