India’s largest low-cost carrier, IndiGo, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for 180 Airbus A320s, of which 150 will be A320neos and 30 will be A320s.
Airbus says that, should IndiGo firm up the MOU, its firm order would represent the largest-ever single firm order for mainline jets in terms of aircraft numbers. Airbus values the deal at $14.2 billion. In the late 1990s American Airlines announced a commitment for 400 Boeing 737-800s, though the airline has never firmed more than part of the original commitment at any one time.
A firm order would also make IndiGo the first announced customer for the new Airbus A320neo, a new version of the A320 re-engined with either the CFM International LEAP-X or the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G geared turbofan at the customer’s choice.
The airline will announce its engine selection for its A320neos and A320s at a later date, according to Airbus.
IndiGo already had previously placed firm orders for 100 A320s, of which it had received 37 by the end of November, so if it takes all 180 aircraft covered by the MOU, IndiGo could have as many as 280 A320s and A320s in its fleet.
Available from 2016, the A320neo will not only incorporate new, more efficient engines, but it will also be fitted with large wingtip devices Airbus calls Sharklets.
Airbus says that, together, these new technologies will deliver fuel savings of up to 15 per cent, representing emissions reductions pf up to 3,600 tonnes of CO2 annually per aircraft. In addition, the A320neo will provide a double-digit-percentage reduction in emissions of oxides of nitrogen, as well as reduced engine noise.
“This order for industry-leading, fuel-efficient aircraft will allow IndiGo to continue to offer low fares,” say Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, co-founders of IndiGo. “Ordering more A320s was the natural choice to meet India’s growing flying needs. The opportunity to reduce costs and to further improve our environmental performance through the A320neo were key to our decision.”
“This order positions IndiGo to take full advantage of the predicted growth in Indian air travel and we are delighted that they continue to build their future with Airbus,” says John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer customers.
Some 6,800 Airbus A320-family aircraft have been ordered and some 4,500 delivered to more than 310 customers and operators worldwide. Airbus says the A320 family offers 99.7 per cent dispatch reliability and extended servicing periods and claims the family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft.
The A320neo will have airframe commonality of more than 95 per cent with the existing A320 famil,y whilst offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 km) more range or two tonnes more payload, according to the manufacturer.