Frontier Airlines’ parent Republic Airways Holdings, Inc. has upgraded a previously announced memorandum of understanding (MOU) for 80 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft into a firm order for 60 Airbus A320neos and 20 A319neos.
Republic has selected CFM International’s LEAP-X engines for all 80 of its A320neos and A319neos. The aircraft will also feature large wingtip devices known as Sharklets.
Airbus says that, together, the Sharklets and LEAP-X engines will result in a 15 per cent fuel burn reduction compared with equivalent jets from the existing A320 family, corresponding to an annual carbon dioxide reduction of 3,600 metric tons per aircraft.
“This order is a confirmation of our confidence that Airbus and the A320neo aircraft will be significant contributors to the future growth of Frontier Airlines,” says Bryan Bedford, chairman, president and CEO of Republic Airways. “We see high fuel prices continuing, and these state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient aircraft will be a major factor in Frontier maintaining its position as an industry cost leader. They will allow Frontier to continue to offer travellers low fares despite persistently high fuel prices.”
“Frontier joins a growing list of U.S. airlines that will soon experience the tangible benefits of the A320neo,” notes John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer. Other U.S. carriers to have placed firm orders for Airbus A320neo-family aircraft include American Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Virgin America.
The A320neo is the latest of many product upgrades as Airbus continues to invest around $350 million a year in the A320 family to maintain its market position as a leading single-aisle aircraft family. The new A319neo, A320neo and A321neo models were announced in December 2010 and feature new engines (the PurePower PW1100G from Pratt and Whitney or the LEAP-X from CFM) and Sharklets.
To date, a total of 22 customers have signed firm orders and MOU commitments for 1,245 A320neo-family jets.
More than 8,100 A320-family aircraft have been ordered to date and more than 4,800 delivered to more than 340 customers and operators worldwide.
Airbus says the A320neo has over 95 per cent airframe commonality with the current A320, making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometers) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range.
Republic Airways Holdings has also ordered 40 Bombardier CS300s and optioned 40 more for Frontier Airlines. The Bombardier CS300 is closely competitive with the Airbus A319neo in terms of seat capacity but manufacturer Bombardier forecasts its all-new aircraft will be at least 10 per cent more efficient than the re-engined Airbus A319 in terms of direct operating cost.