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'Biggest' order for Airbus eco jet

Airbus has unveiled a possible mega-order for its planned new eco-conscious A320neo jet - a deal the European aircraft manufacturer is calling the largest in aviation history.

The commitment by Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo for 180 A320s - including 150 of the new A320neos - would have a value at list prices of 15.6 billion US dollars (£10 billion) if converted into a firm order, Airbus said.

Airbus said it would be the biggest order in terms of number of jets in aviation history.

The deal won applause from industry analysts.

"It's a great win," said Joseph Campbell, a New York-based aerospace analyst at Barclays Capital. "It's just where you'd think it would come from, from one of these emerging, fast-growing markets and a fast-growing airline... It's perfect."

IndiGo is the first announced customer for the A320neo - a revamped version of the European aircraft maker's workhorse jet that Airbus hopes to bring to market in 2016.

New features include more fuel-efficient engines and other technological features with the goal of fuel savings of 15% over its predecessor.

The new aircraft is also being designed with lower carbon emissions and engine noise in mind, Airbus said.

The A320 is Airbus's best-selling plane. Over 6,800 have been ordered and over 4,500 delivered to more than 310 customers worldwide since the single-aisle plane went into service in 1988. It was designed to compete with Boeing's 737 family, which has been running since 1968.

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