Malaysian budget airline AirAsia's long-haul affiliate agreed Tuesday to buy 50 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, a two-aisle jet that the European plane maker officially unveiled this week.

With this memorandum of understanding announced during the Farnborough Airshow outside London, a deal that still must be finalized in a sales contract, AirAsia X becomes "a launch customer for the latest version of the best-selling wide-body," Airbus said in a press release.

The largest of Airbus' two new wide-body jets, the A330-900neo carries 10 more passengers than the model it will eventually replace, the A330-300, which is currently in service.

Deliveries of the jets, which have a catalog price of $275.6 million each, are scheduled to begin in 2018.

"We have been encouraging Airbus to launch this new version of the A330 for some time now," AirAsia X's co-founder and director, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, said, adding that the company is "pleased that they are offering this choice and bringing us the aircraft we truly need to develop further our low-cost, long-haul model."

"We are 100 percent sure that the A330neo will be quite unbeatable in its size category," Fernandes said.

Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier, for his part, said "reduced fuel consumption, extended long-range capability and competitive acquisition costs will make the A330neo a true game changer and we are proud that AirAsia X will be among the first airlines to fly the aircraft."

Not including the MOU announced Tuesday, the AirAsia Group has ordered 536 Airbus aircraft, the Blagnac, France-based plane maker said. EFE