Historic purchase: IndiGo receives approval to place historic purchase for 500 Airbus aircraft
Written By Rajan Das
IndiGo, India’s largest airline by market share, has received approval from the government to place a record-breaking order for 500 Airbus aircraft. The order, worth an estimated $60 billion at list prices, is the largest single order for Airbus in its history and the second-largest ever for any aircraft manufacturer. The airline will receive these brand-new planes between 2030 and 2035.
This order is a testament to IndiGo’s ambitious long-term growth plan, as well as its confidence in the A320 Family’s best-in-class operating economics, performance and reliability. IndiGo has been operating Airbus aircraft since 2006 and has grown to become one of the world’s largest A320 Family customers with 1,330 aircraft on order.
The order includes 300 A320neo, 100 A321neo and 100 A321XLR aircraft, which will enable IndiGo to expand its domestic and international network and offer more low-cost travel options to its customers. The A320neo and A321neo are fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly narrow-body jets that can seat up to 186 and 240 passengers respectively. The A321XLR is a long-range variant of the A321neo that can fly up to 4,700 nautical miles, opening up new routes to destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia.
IndiGo’s CEO Pieter Elbers said, “It is difficult to overstate the significance of IndiGo’s new historic order for 500 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. An order book now of almost 1000 aircraft well into the next decade, enables IndiGo to fulfil its mission to continue to boost economic growth, social cohesion and mobility in India. At IndiGo, we take pride in being India’s preferred airline for connectivity in and with India; and by doing so, being one of the leading airlines in the world. This order strongly reaffirms IndiGo’s belief in the growth of India, in the A320 Family and in our strategic partnership with Airbus.”
Airbus’ CEO Guillaume Faury also expressed his gratitude and excitement for the order, calling it a “historic milestone” for both companies. He said that the order demonstrates IndiGo’s trust in Airbus’ products and technology, as well as its commitment to sustainable aviation. “We are proud to support IndiGo’s ambitious expansion plans and contribute to India’s economic and social development. We are confident that our aircraft will enable IndiGo to offer unmatched efficiency, comfort and environmental performance to its passengers and stakeholders,” he said.
The order is a major boost for Airbus, which has been facing stiff competition from its rival Boeing in the Indian market. According to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Airbus had a 67% market share of India’s active fleet as of March 2021, while Boeing had a 25% share. However, Boeing had secured more orders than Airbus in recent years, especially from IndiGo’s competitors such as SpiceJet and Vistara. With this order, IndiGo has reaffirmed its loyalty to Airbus and cemented its position as the largest customer for the European manufacturer.
The order is also a positive sign for the Indian aviation industry, which has been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), India’s domestic passenger traffic declined by 66% in 2020 compared to 2019, while its international passenger traffic declined by 87%.
The industry also suffered huge losses and many airlines had to lay off staff or reduce salaries. However, with the gradual easing of restrictions and the rollout of vaccines, the industry has shown signs of recovery in recent months. According to DGCA data, domestic passenger traffic increased by 28% in April 2021 compared to March 2021, while international passenger traffic increased by 11%. The order by IndiGo indicates that the airline is optimistic about the future demand for air travel in India and beyond.
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