Airbus won an order to sell 40 planes to AirAsia, Southeast Asia's largest discount airline, beating out Boeing. The Kuala Lumpur-based airline said in a statement to the Malaysian...

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Airbus won an order to sell 40 planes to AirAsia, Southeast Asia’s largest discount airline, beating out Boeing.

The Kuala Lumpur-based airline said in a statement to the Malaysian stock exchange that it will sign the preliminary agreement today to buy the Airbus A320 aircraft in a contract worth $2.5 billion. It also has an option to buy 40 more planes, AirAsia said.

AirAsia, which is expanding routes to China, India and Indonesia to meet increasing competition among Asia’s low-fare carriers, operates a fleet of 19 Boeing 737-300 aircraft, according to its Web site.

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“For the budget airlines, the cost is very important, so they probably got a good deal from Airbus,” said Teoh Kok Lin, managing director of Singular Asset Management in Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia and national carrier Malaysia Airlines previously expressed interest in cooperating, The Associated Press reported. AirAsia’s decision to go with Airbus could prod Malaysia Airlines to do the same, enabling the two airlines to work together to secure an even better deal from Airbus.

Malaysia Airlines said it might buy at least 39 new planes to replace its aging Boeing 737s, which make up 40 percent of its fleet.