IndiGo places large order with Airbus
Airbus nets "largest jet order in aviation history"
India's IndiGo has signed a deal for the largest jet order in aviation history, Airbus announced Tuesday. It's also the first order for Airbus' re-engined A320.
IndiGo, India's largest low-cost airline, signed a memorandum of understanding to buy 30 A320s and 150 A320neos -- the A320 new engine option that Airbus launched Dec. 1, with entry into service set for 2016.
"It is the largest single firm order number for large jets in commercial aviation history, and also makes IndiGo a launch customer for the A320neo," Airbus said, although Airbus spokeswoman Maryanne Greczyn clarified that the deal is not yet a firm order.
Airbus is offering both CFM International LEAP-X engines and Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G engines on the A320neo. The release said IndiGo would select engines at a later date.
The order is "a pretty strong endorsement" of the A320new, analyst Richard Aboulafia, of Teal Group, told Reuters.
Boeing has downplayed the advantage the A320neo has over its Next-Generation 737 and said it will probably skip re-engining for a 737 replacement that would enter service around 2020.
"I don't think Boeing's reliance on 737NG is going to last as long as they would like," Aboulafia told Reuters.
The order also is bad news for Bombardier, which was first out of the gate with a PurePower engine-equipped offering in its CSeries, he added. "These are the sorts of orders that Bombardier should have been racking up and it shows the power of being a big manufacturer."
The order will continue to allow IndiGo to offer low fares, while reducing its costs and improving environmental performance, airline co-founders Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia said in a news release.
Airbus says the A320neo will use up to 15 percent less fuel than existing A320s, cutting up to 3,600 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, with a double-digit reduction in nitrous oxide emissions and reduced engine noise.
IndiGo already had ordered 100 A320s through Nov. 30, 2010 and received 37 of those, according to Airbus.
John Leahy, Airbus' chief operating officer, customers, said: "This order positions IndiGo to take full advantage of the predicted growth in Indian air travel and we are delighted that they continue to build their future with Airbus."