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  • How the Record AirAsia NEO Deal Got Done
    Posted by Robert Wall 10:16 AM on Jun 23, 2011

    Airbus has now secured 1,029 orders for the A320NEO (new engine option) airliner. At Le Bourget, so far, the aircraft maker has booked 667 commitments, and more could still emerge.

    But the standout deal was AirAsia's purchase of 200 NEOs, powered by CFM International Leap-1XAs. It is the largest single order for Airbus by aircraft numbers (two other deals have had higher dollar values than the $18.2 billion AirAsia contract).

    So how did the deal get done? AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes tells the story in announcing the contract:

    After negotiating the terms of the deal, Airbus executives asked Fernandes to sign on a Tuesday several months ago, a day on which he says he does not make deals. So Fernandes, along with Airbus CEO Tom Enders, Airbus COO for customers John Leahy, and EADS CEO Louis Gallois (or "my favorite train man," as Fernandes refers to the former SNCF CEO) went out for an evening at a club.

    Just after midnight, Leahy apparently asks about whether the deal could now be signed.

    Fernandes to Leahy: "I have not seen you on the dance floor."

    Leahy: "I don't dance"

    Fernandes: "Then I don't sign."

    That's when Enders interjects: "John, dance!"

    About 15 minutes and three dances later, Fernandes agrees to sign the memorandum of understanding.

    Fernandes points out, though, that "rythm is not one of John Leahy's strong points."

    Tags: tw99, PAS11, Airbus

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