Spirit Airlines and Airbus have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) as a preliminary to an order for 45 Airbus A320neos and 30 A320s.
The Fort Lauderdale-based carrier signed the MOU at the Dubai Airshow on November 15.
Spirit Airlines will announce its engine selection at a later date, according to Airbus. Spirit’s existing Airbus A320-family fleet is powered by IAE V2500 engines, so it appears likely Spirit will order V2500s for its 30 additional A320s.
Since Pratt & Whitney is the biggest shareholder in the IAE consortium, it also appears likely Spirit may order P&W’s PurePower PW1100G geared-turbofan engines for its A320neos. The PW1100G is one of two engine options available on the Airbus A320neo family, the other being the CFM LEAP-1A engine.
Spirit Airlines will use the new aircraft on targeted growth markets in the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America. The A320neo will help Spirit Airlines build on its existing network, which the carrier operates with an all-Airbus fleet of 35 A320-family jets.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with Airbus and grow our fleet into the next decade,” says Ben Baldanza, President and CEO of Spirit Airlines. “Spirit Airlines’ low fares require an efficient, reliable aircraft and the A320 family, including the neo, fits that model well.”
“The unrivalled economics of these aircraft convinced Spirit to go all-Airbus and that decision has clearly paid off since for the airline,” comments John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, customers.
The Airbus A320neo family has over 95 per cent airframe commonality with existing A320-family aircraft, making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres) more range or two tonnes more payload.
Including Airbus’ three November 15 announcements of large A320neo-family sales, firm orders and commitments for the A320neo – which Airbus launched in December 2010 – are approaching 1,500 from at least 24 customers and make the aircraft the fastest-selling commercial jetliner ever. To date Airbus has converted commitments for around 1,200 A320neo-family aircraft to firm orders.