UK-based low-cost carrier easyJet has placed an order for 27 additional ‘current engine option’ A320s, taking its combined total orders for Airbus A320-family jets to 415 aircraft, 315 of them from the A320ceo family.
Already operating an all-Airbus A320-family fleet which is the largest of any European airline’s, easyJet’s decision to select the Airbus A320 for the new 27-aircraft order is notable more for the airline’s need for more capacity in the short term than for its choice of aircraft.
“We are bringing new aircraft into the fleet as we continue to see a significant number of new profitable opportunities in our core markets in the near term and in order to maintain our cost advantage,” says Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive.
Currently easyJet operates a fleet of some 225 A320-family aircraft. On July 11, 2013, EasyJet became a customer for the Airbus A320neo, with an order for 100 aircraft and acquiring purchase rights on 100 more.
Also on July 11, 2013, easyJet ordered 35 more A320 ‘current engine option’ jets, reportedly also securing options on 35 more.
EasyJet appears to have exercised eight of these options in ordering six more A320s in October 2013 and (apparently, going by Airbus’ official numbers for easyJet’s A320-family orders) two more earlier this year.
The September 18, 2014 order for 27 A320s may represent easyJet exercising the remaining 27 options.
Altogether, with the September 18 order, easyJet’s combined total order for all members of the Airbus A320 family has risen to 415 aircraft: 172 A319s, 143 A320s and 100 A320neos. It also holds additional options on A320s and purchase rights on 100 A320neos.
Based at London Luton Airport, easyJet is the UK’s largest airline in terms of the numbers of passengers carried, boarding 61.3 million passengers in 2013.
On a rolling 12-month basis, easyJet carried 63.8 million passengers in the 12 months ending July 31, 2014 ‒ approximately 20 million fewer than did Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, in the same period.
EasyJet is also the largest operator globally of the Airbus A319, as well as Europe’s largest A320-family customer and operator. It operates one of Europe’s most extensive route networks.
The Airbus A320 family has accumulated firm orders for nearly 11,000 aircraft and more than 6,200 have now been delivered, to more than 400 customers and operators.