Emirati men visit the Dubai Airshow at its venue in Dubai.
The sale is a triumph for the company's ecological credentials too: the "neo" suffix denotes the company's "new generation" style of jets, with engines that use 15% less fuel compared to the previous models of A320 or A321, or rival Boeing's 737 design.
"I am sure that if we get closer to a further order, the Airbus board will make that undertaking", Emirates President Tim Clark told reporters on Tuesday at the Dubai Airshow. Including options to buy a further 50 planes, that deal could be worth $27 billion at list prices.
The blockbuster finale to the main part of the November 12-16 show lifted a despondent mood that had settled over the Airbus chalet when a deal for A380 superjumbos collapsed on day one.
But Airbus scored its first deal at Dubai, signing a memorandum of understanding for 25 A320neo jets worth $2.7 billion with Kuwait's Wataniya Airways.
Leahy, a smooth-talking New Yorker, became a famous thorn in the side of Boeing and other Airbus rivals during his more than 20 years in the job.
Boeing, the USA aerospace company, said that FlyDubai of the United Arab Emirates has agreed to buy 175 of its 737 Max planes, along with rights to buy another 50.
With the Dubai show winding down, Airbus' mega-sale made up for its disappointment earlier this week when a big sale of A380 jets to Emirates Airline failed to come together.
"It's one of the few occasions where you can truly say it's the end of an era", Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia said of Leahy's retirement.
Emirates now relies exclusively on the Airbus 380 and the Boeing 777, making it the largest operator of both.
Indigo Partners is an investment company specializing in the leasing of aircraft to companies at low cost, founded by the American Bill Franke, one of the figures most influential in the world by air. The low-priced business is particularly cost sensitive and it's a segment that can not survive without a large number of new, fuel efficient, and reliable jets like the 737MAX and the A320neo. It's managed by William Franke, a pioneer of the cheap tickets and high fees airline business that has spread overseas and is growing in the United States.
Boeing immediately hit back with a provisional agreement to sell 175 planes to budget airline flydubai. Stay tuned for more action.