Civil Aviation

Airbus lands biggest jet deal with sale to India’s IndiGo

Photo Courtesy: Airbus

New Delhi: European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SE today landed one of its largest-ever deals with the sale of 300 narrow-bodied planes from its stable to Indian budget carrier IndiGo, an order worth at least $33 billion.

The contract for the A320neo Family aircraft includes the latest extended long range A321XLR variant, apart from the A320neo and A321neo, a mix that will enable the airlines to cater for uncharted markets within India.

The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR, which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. The aircraft will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700 nautical miles – with 30 per cent lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor jets.

At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,650 firm orders from nearly 110 customers worldwide. This also take IndiGo’s total number of A320neo family aircraft fleet to 730 jets, a statement from Airbus SE said. The IndiGo order is almost 10 per cent of all sales of the reengined aircraft model that far outsells all other types.

“This order is an important milestone, as it reiterates our mission of strengthening air connectivity in India, which will in turn boost economic growth and mobility. India is expected to continue with its strong aviation growth and we are well on our way to build the world’s best air transportation system, to serve more customers and deliver on our promise of providing low fares and a courteous, hassle free experience to them,” said Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer of IndiGo.

The latest Indigo deal is a huge win for Airbus, as its rival Boeing Co. suffer business losses after the grounding of its 737 Max due to two fatal crashes in five months. Boeing chief Dennis A. Muilenburg is due to appear before US lawmakers today amid mounting pressure from his board, regulators and airlines.

“We are delighted that IndiGo, one of our early launch customers for the A320neo, continues to build its future with Airbus, making IndiGo the world’s biggest customer for the A320neo Family,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer.

“We are grateful for this strong vote of confidence as this order confirms the A320neo Family as the aircraft of choice in the most dynamic aviation growth markets,” Faury said. “We are pleased to see our aircraft allowing IndiGo to take full advantage of the predicted growth in Indian air travel.”

IndiGo is among the fastest growing carriers in the world. Since its first A320neo aircraft was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family aircraft has grown into the world’s largest with 97 A320neo aircraft, operating alongside 128 A320ceos. The new purchases will enable Indigo to widen its lead in the world’s fastest growing aviation market, as the airline embarks on an ambitious expansion plan, seeking to eventually provide flights to cities such as London.

“We were believers in IndiGo from day one and are thrilled to be able to perpetuate this most fruitful partnership,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. “IndiGo has brilliantly demonstrated the relevance of the A320neo for leading low cost operators, and the A321neo – and now the A321XLR – provide our operators with the logical next step in cost efficiency, passenger comfort and market coverage.”

Founded in 2005 by ex-US Airways Chief Executive Officer Rakesh Gangwal and former travel agent Rahul Bhatia, IndiGo has quickly outpaced rivals to grab almost half of the Indian market, making both billionaires. The company initially bought 100 original-generation A320s before going on to order the upgraded neo batches of 180 and 250 aircraft.

“We are pleased to partner yet again with Airbus for our next batch of Airbus A320neo Family aircraft. The fuel-efficient A320neo family aircraft will allow IndiGo to maintain its strong focus on lowering operating costs and delivering fuel efficiency with high standards of reliability. The choice of engine manufacturer for this order will be made at a later date,” said Riyaz Peermohamed, Chief Aircraft Acquisition and Financing Officer of IndiGo.

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