European low-cost carrier easyJet has signed a contract to order a further 15 Airbus A320s and has converted an existing order for 20 Airbus A319s into the larger A320 model.
EasyJet has also taken options on 33 more A320s, according to the daily e-newsletter Aviation Industry News, which reports that easyJet will take delivery of all the new A320s on firm order in the period from 2012 to 2014.
The agreement is part of a firm orderbook which now totals 242 Airbus A320-family aircraft, making easyJet one of the world’s largest customers for the A320 family. EasyJet is Europe’s second-biggest low-cost carrier after Ryanair and is set to be operating a fleet containing well over 100 Airbus A319s and well over 100 Airbus A320s in the next few years, if easyJet exercises its new A320 options.
“We are pleased to announce this agreement with Airbus. It will help deliver easyJet’s strategy of continued profitable growth, whilst providing even more flight capacity for our passengers,” says Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive. “A central feature of the agreement is the flexibility it gives easyJet to vary the growth rate in its capacity to reflect economic conditions and market opportunities.”
Today, easyJet operates a fleet of 182 Airbus A320-family aircraft, according to Airbus. Reflecting the airline’s ambitious expansion, easyJet took delivery of its first A320-family aircraft – an A319 – in September 2003 and of its 100th aircraft (also an A319) just three and a half years later, in April 2007.
Airbus says it invests €100 million ($133 million) a year in keeping A320-family technology state-of-the-art. The manufacturer recently announced it would begin offering the A320neo, an upgraded version of the A320 family re-engined with either the forthcoming new CFM International LEAP-X engine or the new Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G geared-turbofan engine, at the option of the customer.
The manufacturer says its aircraft share a unique, common cockpit and operational commonality, allowing airlines to use the same pool of pilots, cabin crews and maintenance engineers. This brings operational flexibility and resulting in significant cost savings, according to Airbus.
Airbus has sold more than 6,800 Airbus A320-family aircraft and delivered more than 4,500 to more than 310 customers and operators worldwide.
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