Airbus has won the biggest order in commercial aviation history from Indian low fare carrier IndiGo Airlines.
IndiGo, which will launch international services later this year subject to government permission, signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus this week for the 180 single-aisle aircraft. The order, worth $15 bn at listed prices, includes 150 of Airbus’s new A320 NEO jets, an upgraded variant of its single aisle A320. IndiGo will be the launch customer for this model; its remaining 30 orders are for existing versions of the A320 jet.
Airbus officials said that the aircraft delivery will take place in a phased manner from 2016 to 2025. Late last year, the airline got ‘in-principle approval’ by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for import of aircraft in the future. Owned by InterGlobe Enterprises and 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.
Louis Gallois, chief executive of Airbus’ parent business, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), said: “It is the best way to start the year. I can’t underestimate the size and importance of this deal.”
“Ordering more A320s was the natural choice to meet India’s growing flying needs. The opportunity to reduce costs and to further improve our environmental performance through the A320neo were key to our decision,” added IndiGo co-founders Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia.
Shares in EADS rose nearly 4% after the deal was announced.