PARIS Oct 17 Mexico's VivaAerobus is set to
confirm a roughly $4 billion order for 40 Airbus
A320-family jets after rejecting bids from current supplier
Boeing, industry sources said.
The defection to a new supplier, first reported by Reuters
in June, follows a bitterly fought contest as the Mexican
low-cost carrier becomes the latest to compare the newest
fuel-saving models offered by both planemakers.
Airbus, Boeing and VivaAerobus all declined to comment, but
the airline said it had scheduled a news conference for Monday.
The deal is also expected to mark a breakthrough for United
Technologies unit Pratt & Whitney, whose engines compete
with GE/Safran venture CFM to power A320 jets.
The arrival of a new generation of jet engines boasting
double-digit percentage gains in fuel efficiency prompted both
Airbus and Boeing to revamp their medium-haul, narrowbody models
and triggered a worldwide battle for market share.
But analysts say it is rare for an airline to switch
suppliers, partly because of the cost of re-training pilots.
The airline uses a fleet of CFM-powered 737-300s, an earlier
generation of Boeing's most-sold passenger plane.
VivaAerobus said in June it was studying proposals from
planemakers about the possible purchase of new aircraft.
Industry sources said the airline had made the selection in
the summer, leaving contract details to be worked out before a
final announcement. A breakdown of the order was not available
but each revamped Airbus A320neo, which is the most popular
variant, is worth $100 million at catalogue prices.