EasyJet today confirmed a major multi-billion dollar fleet upgrade involving more than 200 aircraft.
The budget airline has agreed to acquire 100 new generation Airbus A320neo aircraft for delivery between 2017 and 2022 and take options on a further 100.
The carrier is also acquiring 35 existing A320s to enter service between 2015 and 2017.
EasyJet said it had negotiated a “very substantial discount” from the list prices of the aircraft of $76 million per A320 and $92 million per A320neo.
Eighty five of the 135 ordered aircraft will be used to replace ageing aircraft as they leave the fleet and return to lessors. The remaining aircraft will be used to continue with a strategy of capacity growth of between 3% to 5% a year.
The deal follows a “highly competitive” fleet selection process, the carrier said.
“Whilst the announcement today will deliver a fleet of 276 aircraft by 2022, as of today, the new arrangements also give easyJet the ability to manage the fleet size to between 165 and 298 aircraft in 2022 depending on economic conditions and opportunities available,” easyJet said.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “All manufacturers competed hard for the easyJet business. Both Airbus and Boeing offered us new generation aircraft that met our requirements and offered greatly improved fuel efficiency.
“Ultimately, Airbus offered us the best deal, and at a price with a greater discount to the list price than their landmark fleet purchase with easyJet in 2002.
“These arrangements combined with easyJet’s cost advantage, leading network and compelling customer proposition mean that easyJet is uniquely positioned to be a structural winner in European aviation.”
The airline’s chairman John Barton added: “Since joining the easyJet board, I have spent a significant amount of time reviewing the rationale for ordering new aircraft and have been actively involved in the selection process, which I am sure has been robust and thorough.
“We have planned that the new fleet arrangements will be financed without recourse to shareholders and believe that the arrangements will enhance returns and dividends to shareholders.
“The new fleet arrangements will enable easyJet to continue its successful strategy of offering customers low fares to convenient airports and efficient and friendly service.”
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