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Airbus sells 100 jets to US carrier Spirit Airlines

By Lawrence Gash

Multi-billion-dollar deal comes in face of tariff war over European ‘subsidies’

helping to raise their shares

The budget American carrier Spirit Airlines is to renew its current fleet with 100 Airbus aircraft. The multi-billion dollar deal would be Airbus’ first major sale to a US airline since Washington announced tariffs on the European firm.

At the start of the month the US received approval from the World Trade Organisation to impose tariffs on $7.5bn (£6.1bn) of European Union goods. For 15 years the US has argued that Airbus receives illegal subsidies from European states to help it compete with its American rival Boeing.

Spirit said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to purchase 100 single-aisle jets, including a mix of Airbus A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo models. It appears to have negotiated a substantial discount as at last year’s list prices the deal would be worth about $12bn.

President and CEO Ted Christie said: “This new order represents another milestone for Spirit. The additional aircraft will be used to support Spirit’s growth as we add new destinations and expand our network across the US, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Spirit’s stock has fallen by around 35 per this year, after guidance in July indicating flat earnings per share in 2019. The Airbus announcemen, coupled with better than expected third quarter earnings, brought has led to a 4.53 per cent rise at the start of US trading.

Notwithstanding recent U.S. tariffs Airbus stock is up from a poor January start of €84.17 to trade this afternoon at around €121.98.

Airbus has been successful in improving the outlook for Norwegian Air, helping to raise their shares by more than 20 per cent after completing a deal for 27 Airbus aircraft.

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