Indigo Partners boss Bill Franke has underscored his faith in the airline industry’s growth with a multi-billion-dollar order for 255 additional A321neo family aircraft across the company’s portfolio of airlines.
The opening salvo in the Duba Airshow sees 75 A321neos and 27A21XLRs (extra long range) destined for Hungary’s Wizz Air, 91 A321neos to US carrier Frontier Airlines, 39 A321neos for Mexico’s Volaris and 21 A321neos and two A321XLRs for South America’s JetSMART.
In addition, Volaris and JetSmart will upgrade 38 A320neo orders from their existing backlog to A321neos.
“This order reaffirms our portfolio airlines’ commitment to consistent growth through the next decade, said Franke, the managing partner of the Phoenix, Arizona-based private equity fund focused on global air transportation investments.
“The Airbus A321neo and A321XLR have industry-leading efficiency, low unit costs and a substantially reduced carbon footprint relative to prior models.
“With these aircraft, Wizz, Frontier, Volaris and JetSMART will continue to offer low fares, stimulate the markets they serve and improve their industry-leading sustainability profile.”
Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer said Indigo partners had “acted fast and decisively over the last few months to position themselves for this landmark order as the effect of the pandemic recedes and the world wants more sustainable flying.”
The A321neo offers 25 per cent fuel and CO2 savings compared to older aircraft as well as a 50 per cent noise reduction. The A321XLR version provides a further range extension to 4,700nm to give a flying time of up to 11 hours.
By the end of October 2021, the A320neo family had received more than 7,550 orders from 122 customers since its launch in 2010. Since its entry into service five years ago, Airbus has delivered over 1,950 A320neo family aircraft and estimates this has contributed to 10 million tons of CO2 savings.
There was increasing speculation ahead of airshow that Boeing will announce a deal for 70 to 80 737 MAX jets with Indian budget airline start-up Akasa, giving it a crucial breakthrough in a market dominated by Airbus.
Bloomberg News reported the US manufacturer was in advanced talks with Akasa, which is backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
The newswire said the start-up had also talked to Airbus about its A20neo product but problems with the type’s availability had tilted the equation in Boeing’s favor.
Jhunjhunwala told Bloomberg Television last month that it was looking at operating a fleet of 70 aircraft in four years and acquiring them on a sale-and-leaseback basis.
A deal would widen Boeing’s beachhead in India where the collapse of Jet Airways means the only airline with outstanding 737 MAX orders is SpiceJet.
Bloomberg said the discussions were for as many as 80 aircraft, with deliveries expected to start as soon as within seven months, subject to regulatory approvals to formally start the business.