The CEO of Lion Air announced the order at a ceremony in France with French President Francois Hollande and head of Airbus both in attendance. With the French economy struggling, the order is welcome news for the EADS subsidiary based in Toulouse, France.
(Read More: Airbus Beaten by Boeing as Orders Plunge)
The order is also good news for the economy in Mobile, Ala. where Airbus is working on a new final assembly plant that will eventually build the A320 and A320neo. That plant is expected to be up and running by late 2015, which is also when Airbus expects the first A320neo planes to go into service. The Mobile plant is expected to employ more than a 1,000 workers.
A320neo vs. Boeing 737MAX
Since announcing it would build its next-generation A320, Airbus has been racking up orders for the fuel-efficient narrow body at a steady pace. Airbus now has 2,052 booked orders for the A320neo compared with 1,185 firm orders for its competitor, the Boeing 737MAX.
(Read More: Airbus Will Ditch Lithium-Ion Batteries in A350)
The rapid growth in orders for the next-generation of narrow body planes is being driven by airlines looking for more fuel efficient models. Both the A320neo and the 737MAX are expected to cut fuel consumption by at least 15 percent compared to existing narrow body planes. While jet fuel prices have moderated in recent months, most expect jet fuel to continue rising in years to come.