Indian LCC IndiGo Could Be About To Place A Huge Airbus Order

India’s largest airline by fleet size and passenger share is reportedly on the verge of placing a huge order with Airbus. IndiGo, the low-cost powerhouse, could order more than 300 aircraft from the A320neo family, including the long-range A321XLR, in a deal worth as much as $33bn to Airbus.

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IndiGo could be preparing to order 300 or more aircraft. Photo: Airbus

More than 300 aircraft

As reported today in Reuters, IndiGo is apparently considering a massive order for Airbus aircraft. Reportedly, the deal could be for more than 300 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, which would be worth at least $33bn at list price.

Already India’s largest carrier by fleet size, IndiGo operates some 224 aircraft from the Airbus A320 family, as well as 22 regional ATR 72s. Its current order book, according to Planespotters, is for nine A320neo and nine A321neo aircraft.

IndiGo Airbus order
IndiGo has one of the youngest fleets in the world. Photo: Airbus

IndiGo has one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average fleet age of 5.7 years. However, the airline has a large number of A320ceo aircraft which are approaching or older than 10 years of age. It may be that, along with expanding its fleet overall, it is looking to get rid of all its 127 CEO variants in favor of the newer, more efficient NEO.

What could IndiGo order?

Reuters suggests that people ‘familiar with the matter’ say IndiGo is looking at, among other things, the newest addition to the A320 family – the A321XLR. Launched this year at the Paris Air Show, the A321XLR has an astonishing range and will be the longest-range single-aisle aircraft in the world when it’s delivered.

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The IndiGo Airbus order could include the XLR. Photo: Airbus

Along with the XLR for further afield missions, IndiGo will undoubtedly be looking to secure its place in the queue for more A320neos. Despite publishing its largest quarterly loss just days ago, the low-cost airline has its sights set on expansion, with long haul routes to destinations including London and the Middle East firmly in its plans.

IndiGo has a history of placing mega orders with Airbus. Back in October 2014, the airline expressed an intention to purchase 250 of the A320neo family of aircraft, an order which was firmed up a year later. At that time, it was the biggest single order that Airbus had ever received.

Important to Airbus

The importance of IndiGo to Airbus was clear earlier this month when the manufacturer selected IndiGo to be the recipient of its 1,000th A320neo aircraft. At the time, Airbus spoke proudly of its partnership with IndiGo, saying,

“…the fuel efficient A320 Family has been instrumental in IndiGo’s rise to become India’s largest airline by fleet size and passenger numbers.”

IndiGo Airbus order
IndiGo was Airbus’ chosen partner for the 1,000th neo. Photo: Airbus

Despite issues with the Pratt and Whitney 1100G engines, which been linked to in-flight shutdowns, IndiGo is clearly keen to stick with its Airbus-only strategy. In June this year, the carrier dropped the P&W engines in favor of French-US venture CFM, securing a record $20bn deal for more than 600 of the powerplants for its future fleet.

If this rumored order does come off, the aircraft are unlikely to begin delivering for many years. With IndiGo’s dedication to having a young, modern fleet, these could even be planned to replace some of its young aircraft in its current fleet.

At the time of writing, neither Airbus nor IndiGo wished to provide a comment.

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