In arguably one of the largest aircraft acquisitions in Indian aviation history, Indian carrier IndiGo signed an agreement to purchase 250 narrow-body A320 Neo (new Engine Option) planes worth over USD 25.5 billion, as per list prices and more than the GDP of several countries including Afghanistan and Nepal, with European manufacturer Airbus.
To be sure, IndiGo as one of India's only airline to consistently deliver profits and prosper even as Kingfisher Airlines and SpiceJet died or struggled, relies on a complex sale-and-lease structure to buy its fleet. A 2013 Economic Times investigation into how IndiGo consistently manages to report profits notes that Indigo, as part of its massive orders, can even buy aircraft from the likes of Airbus at 40% discount.
The aircraft purchase agreement with Airbus was signed on Saturday, IndiGo said in a statement today.
The carrier had earlier too placed orders of 100 A-320s in 2005 and another 180 A-320 neos in 2011 worth about USD 11 billion, which was the largest-ever at that time.
"This new order further reaffirms IndiGo's commitment to the long-term development of affordable air transportation in India and overseas. The additional fuel efficient A320neo aircraft will enable us to continue to bring our low fares and courteous, hassle free service to more customers and markets and will create more job opportunities and growth," IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh in the statement.
IndiGo has already taken the delivery of all 100 Airbus A320 planes, which it had ordered in 2005, the airline said, adding that with the latest acquisition, IndiGo has ordered a total of 530 A320 Family aircraft with Airbus.
"This order confirms the A320 Family as the airliner of choice in the most dynamic aviation growth markets. We thank IndiGo and its co-founders, Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal for their tremendous vote of confidence," Airbus Chief Operating Officer for customers John Leahy said.
The A320 Neo comes with many features, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which are 15 per cent fuel-efficient from day one and 20 per cent by 2020, the statement said.
(with inputs from agencies)