IndiGo Gives Rs 2.4 Lakh Crore Order For 300 A320 Neo Aircraft

India's biggest airline IndiGo on Tuesday placed a firm order for 300 Airbus A320 Neo family aircraft worth about $33 billion (almost Rs 2.34 lakh crore) at list price - making it one of the European aerospace major's largest orders ever with a single operator. The latest order takes IndiGo's total number of A320 Neo family order to 730 planes and comprises a mix of A320 Neo, A321 Neo and A321XLR aircraft. The choice of the "xtra long range" or XLR means the airline is more likely to stick to single aisles for medium haul flights like Delhi to London that this aircraft has the range to do nonstop.

Known for record orders since inception, IndiGo numbers are now mind-boggling. The airline currently has about 250 planes in service. The 2005-founded airline had till Monday ordered 530 aircraft, that included 100 A320 old gen; 280 A321 new engine option or Neo and 150 A321 Neo. While all the old-gen A320s have been received and will be phased out, 335 aircraft from the earlier orders are yet to be delivered.

Now 300 more have been ordered, taking the number of IndiGo's yet-to-be-delivered planes to 635! The airline will now get one plane a week till the completion of this order which means for over the next 12 years. In a mail to employees, IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta spoke about the new aircraft order.

"We have a very strong balance sheet, which allows us to remain committed to our strategy of growth and expansion… We have more growth opportunities than we can meet with our existing fleet of aircraft. The Airbus 320neo family is ideally suited to our needs… As we spread our wings and add more destinations, we need to extend the range of our operations and that is why we have added the A321XLR aircraft to our aircraft order." The choice of engine manufacturer - the current headache for IndiGo thanks to Pratt & Whitney's snag-prone Neo engines - for this order will be made later.

Dutta said, "This (300-plane) order is an important milestone, as it reiterates our mission of strengthening air connectivity in India, which will in turn boost economic growth and mobility. India is expected to continue with its strong aviation growth and we are well on our way to build the world's best air transportation system, to serve more customers and to deliver on our promise of providing low fares and a courteous, hassle free experience to them." Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said, "We are delighted that IndiGo, one of our early launch customers for the A320 Neo, continues to build its future with Airbus, making IndiGo the world's biggest customer for the A320 Neo family. We are grateful for this strong vote of confidence as this order confirms the A320 Neo family as the aircraft of choice in the most dynamic aviation growth markets. We are pleased to see our aircraft allowing IndiGo to take full advantage of the predicted growth in Indian air travel."

The record-breaking order for Airbus comes at a time when main rival, US major Boeing, is struggling to make its grounded B737 Max fly again after two deadly crashes. For customers, IndiGo's order means the airline's medium haul nonstop model - like say Delhi-London - may not be markedly different from the current one. However, passengers who will be lured by low fares on those flights hope for some basic elements to be provided on them: slightly better padded seats than the current ones; genuine hot food; in-seat USB chargers so that they can use their personal electronic devices (PED) on the long flights without battery running out. The A321 XLR has a range of up to 8,700 km with 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor jets.

At the end of September 2019, Airbus has received over 6,650 firm orders for the A320 Neo family from 110 customers worldwide with IndiGo being the biggest customer. IndiGo record orders include: June 2005: Orders 100 A320 worth $6 billion. January 2011: Orders 180 A320s, including 150 Neos worth $15 billion. August 2015: Order 250 A320 Neo family worth $26.5 billion. October 2019: Orders 300 A320 Neo family planes worth $33 billion.

Source : The Times of India

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