Paris : Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia has ordered 100 Airbus A320 airliners with a catalogue value of US$9.3 billion (7.1 billion euros), including 64 future A320 fuel-efficient Neo models, Airbus said on Thursday.

The order means that AirAsia, the leading lo- cost airline in Asia, is now the biggest customer for single-aisle A320 airliners in the world, Airbus said.

The A320 is popular with low-cost airlines because, with its single aisle, and flying range, it is suited to the short-to-medium distance routes on which low-cost operators tend to concentrate.

Airbus said that AirAsia had ordered in total 475 single-aisle aircraft from Airbus, comprising 264 A320neo and 211 A320ceo.

The airline was already operating more than 100 of these from its bases in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila and Tokyo.

AirAsia group chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said at the signing ceremony alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron at Broughton, Wales, where Airbus has a factory that the purchase “goes in-line with our strategy to further build our already extensive network through new routes and added frequencies and allow AirAsia to maintain its market leadership.”

Airbus president Fabrice Brégier said: “AirAsia is one of the great success stories of recent years in the airline business.”

AirAsia’s all-A320 fleet services about 70 destinations in 20 countries across Asia.

The company has an affiliate AirAsia X which operates widebody A330-300s on longer services from Kuala Lumpur to Northern Asia and Australia.

Airbus said that so far, more than 8,800 A320 aircraft had been ordered and more than 5,300 delivered to more than 380 customers and operators worldwide.