Airbus seals record $50bn (£38bn) deal

Airbus seals record $50bn (£38bn) deal

In what is the biggest commercial aeroplane deal in history, Airbus has agreed to sell an additional 430 aircraft from the A320neo family to Indigo Partners.

The European aircraft manufacturer, which assembles wings for its planes at its plant in Broughton, North Wales and employs more than 6,000 people, announced at the Dubai Airshow that it had signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase.

Private equity firm Indigo has four airlines in its portfolio and will allocate the new aircraft across the low-cost airlines Frontier Airlines (United States), JetSMART (Chile), Volaris (Mexico), and Wizz Air (Hungary) once final purchase agreements between Airbus and the four airlines have been completed.

The 430-aircraft commitment, comprised of 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos is worth $49.5 billion at list price and was announced by Bill Franke, managing partner of Indigo Partners, and John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, at the Dubai Airshow.

When added to existing Airbus A320 Family orders, the new agreement will make Indigo Partners one of the largest customers by order number in the world for the Airbus single-aisle aircraft family.

Airlines in the Indigo Partners family have previously placed orders for 427 A320 Family aircraft.

Bill Franke said: “This significant commitment for 430 additional aircraft underscores our optimistic view of the growth potential of our family of low-cost airlines, as well as our confidence in the A320neo Family as a platform for that growth.”

“Our airlines know that a great aircraft coupled with a great business plan will create value for our customers.

“We look forward to bringing comfort and low fares to more passengers around the world as Wizz Air, Volaris, JetSMART and Frontier continue to expand.”

John Leahy said: “Indigo Partners has been a tremendous customer and supporter of the Airbus single-aisle fleet for many years.

“An order for 430 aircraft is remarkable, but it’s particularly gratifying to all of us at Airbus when it comes from a group of airline professionals who know our products, as well as the folks at Indigo Partners, do. 

“We are proud to augment their airline fleets in Latin America, North America and Europe with the single-aisle aircraft that offers the lowest operating costs, longest range and most spacious cabin: the A320neo Family.”

Also present at the announcement were Enrique Beltranena, CEO of Volaris; Barry Biffle, CEO of Frontier Airlines; Estuardo Ortiz, CEO of JetSMART; and József Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air. They confirmed their firm’s individual aircraft orders as follows:

Wizz - 72 A320neo, 74 A321neo

Frontier - 100 A320neo, 34 A321neo

JetSMART - 56 A320neo, 14 A321neo

Volaris - 46 A320neo, 34 A321neo

The A320neo Family incorporates the latest technologies, including new generation engines and Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together will deliver 20% fuel savings by 2020. 

With more than 5,200 orders received from 95 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured nearly 60% market share.