DUBAI—Airbus is able to claim a small victory over Boeing after securing a record-breaking order for its A320neo family of jets at the Dubai Airshow here.

After failing to clinch a much-anticipated A380 order from Emirates Airlines and watching Boeing secure additional orders for its 777 and 787s, Airbus unveiled an order for 430 A320 jets from low-cost airline investor Bill Franke’s Indigo Partners worth $49.5 billion, based on list prices. This makes it one of the largest single orders in history, at least in terms of aircraft numbers.

The 430 Airbus aircraft will be shared between four of Indigo’s ultra-low-cost carriers: Frontier Airlines, Volaris, Wizz Air and Chilean newcomer JetSmart. The order virtually doubles the Indigo-owned airlines’ joint commitments to around 900 aircraft.

However, just minutes later Boeing announced in a hastily convened press conference that low-cost carrier FlyDubai had ordered 175 737-8, -9 and -10 aircraft, along with 50 options, with a list value of $27 billion.

The FlyDubai order—finalized late in the evening on Nov. 14—brings the airline’s total number of aircraft on order to 320. It is also the Dubai-based carrier’s first order for a larger-sized model of the 737, as it operates the 737-800 and has recently taken delivery of its first -8.

The Airbus deal is a detailed memorandum of understanding, said John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer for customers. Contracts will be inked before the end of the year, he said, and engine selections will be decided later.

The order comprises 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos, and will be split as follows:

  • Frontier Airlines (U.S.): 100 A320neos, 34 A321neos.
  • JetSmart (Chile): 56 A320neos, 14 A321neos.
  • Volaris (Mexico): 46 A320neos, 34 A321neos.
  • Wizz (Hungary, UK): 72 A320neos, 74 A321neos.

Deliveries from the Airbus order will begin in 2021, but the bulk of the jets will be delivered in 2025–26 from Toulouse and Airbus’ final-assembly facility in Mobile, Alabama.

Wizz Air CEO József Váradi said the order would allow the Eastern European low-cost carrier to grow to 300 aircraft by 2025. The airline already ordered 110 A321neos at the 2015 Paris Air Show. “These aircraft will provide the capacity needed to harvest the opportunities we are seeing in the marketplace,” he said.

Estuardo Ortiz, CEO of JetSmart, said the new airline was looking to achieve both an “evolution and a revolution in the airline industry in South America."

“There is a market that will fly with an ultra-low-cost model,” Ortiz said. “This [order] is a major step in accomplishing that mission.”

Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said the order would triple the size of the Denver-based airline’s fleet, paving the way for it to fly 50 million passengers annually by 2026 with 200 aircraft. Biffle said the company also is expecting to take delivery in 2018 of its first aircraft from the final-assembly line in Mobile.

Franke hailed Leahy’s efforts in securing the order and bringing together a deal spanning four airlines. The deal is likely to be one of Leahy’s last, as he is due to retire before the end of the year.

FlyDubai plans to take delivery in 2019 of its first 737 MAX from the order. Chairman Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said the additional aircraft would meet the airline’s future ambitions. He confirmed that the airline was looking at both the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737 MAX, but said technical teams came down on the side of the Boeing aircraft.