New Delhi: In the biggest aircraft purchase in commercial aviation history, low-cost airline IndiGo will be buying 180 A320 aircraft from Airbus.
At a cost of $15.6 billion, IndiGo will also be buying 150 of upgraded neo versions. Airbus has said that this is the biggest single large jetliner order in commercial aviation history.
The provisional order includes 30 classic A320s – Airbus’ best-selling model which carries 150 people on short and medium routes – and 150 upgraded versions of the same aircraft, which Airbus says will offer airlines fuel savings from 2016.
Airbus says airlines will benefit from 15 per cent fuel savings by choosing the upgraded model, which will have state-of-the-art engines and upward-sloping wingtips.
IndiGo first hit the headlines by ordering 100 Airbus A320s at the Paris air show in 2005. It said last August it planned to buy 150 more planes over two to three years as it looks to fly international routes.
Owned by InterGlobe Enterprises and industry veteran Rakesh Gangwal, a former chief executive of US Airways, India’s second busiest domestic airline will have completed five years of operation in August, which makes it eligible to fly overseas.
IndiGo operates its aircraft on lease under a system known as sale and leaseback. It has so far taken delivery of 37 A320s.
By 2016 it will have a fleet of about 75 planes and the new aircraft will partly be used to phase out the earlier models, meaning a net increase of some 100 aircraft between now and 2022, a source involved in the transaction said.