Airbus to sign mega A320 order from Asian carrier Lion Air

PARIS (AFP) - European aerospace giant Airbus will sign an order from Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air for more than 200 A320 medium-haul jets at a ceremony on Monday with French President Francois Hollande, business daily Les Echos reported in its Monday edition.

Questioned by AFP late Sunday Airbus and the presidency both declined to comment. Earlier on Sunday the presidential office said in a statement that Hollande would on Monday host the chief executive of Airbus to celebrate the signing of "a major industrial agreement".

Based on prices quoted in the January Airbus catalogue, an order of its size is expected to be worth more than $20 billion (S$25 billion) with a standard A320 model priced at US$91.5 billion. Its newer and more fuel efficient NEO plane has a price tag of over US$100 million.

The government said the deal will be signed as France's Industry Week kicks off, but declined to give more details on the nature of the agreement.

Monday's meeting between Hollande and Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier will take place at 1000 GMT at the presidential palace.

The news comes just days after Airbus received an order worth at least US$9.3 billion from Turkish airlines for 117 planes. On top of that, the deal includes an option for another 35 aircraft that could bring the total value of the agreement to US$15.5 billion.

As France battles with rising unemployment figures, Airbus is one of the few companies that continues to recruit heavily.

In January, Bregier said the company would hire 3,000 people worldwide in 2013.

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