Key Points:

  • EasyJet's massive order includes 157 Airbus A320neo jets with an option for 100 more and conversions of 35 jets to the larger A321neo model.

  • Both Airbus and Boeing face challenges meeting the soaring demand due to parts shortages, making the race for available production slots increasingly competitive among airlines.

  • EasyJet's deal, pending shareholder approval, will facilitate the phase-out of its less popular A319 aircraft and replace half of its older A320ceo planes.

TOULOSE — British low-cost carrier EasyJet has inked its largest-ever aircraft order, potentially acquiring up to 257 jets from Airbus SE. This commitment, with an estimated value approaching $20 billion, includes 157 Airbus A320neo jets with an option to secure 100 more. As part of the massive deal, deliveries are slated to continue until 2034. Furthermore, the airline is upgrading 35 of its pre-ordered A320neo jets to the more sizable A321neo variant, aiming for improved economic efficiency.

Airlines Scramble for Available Production Slots 

EasyJet announces its largest aircraft purchase from Airbus

As 2023 is projected to be a landmark year for extensive aircraft deals, EasyJet's move aligns with those of its competitors, such as Ryanair Holdings Plc, United Airlines Holdings Inc., and India's Indigo. However, increasing demand coupled with parts shortages poses production challenges for major manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing. This situation has intensified the competition among airlines for the diminishing available production slots in this decade. With the upcoming Dubai Air Show, there is anticipation for continued buying momentum, especially as Emirates hints at its intent to place more orders.

EasyJet's Discussions and Decisions 

EasyJet's Chief Executive Officer, Johan Lundgren, expressed the complexities of the procurement process. He mentioned, “It’s been a comprehensive process, spanning over 12 months, to reach our current position.” Lundgren also shared that they had engaged in conversations with Boeing. Notably, Boeing has faced its own set of challenges, especially with manufacturing defects from key suppliers impacting its 737 model production. Presently, EasyJet's fleet consists exclusively of Airbus aircraft. Such uniformity is common among discount airlines as it aids in minimizing training and maintenance expenses.

Strategic Fleet Upgrade 

Pending shareholder endorsement, this significant purchase enables EasyJet to phase out its A319 models, which have diminished in airline preference. Additionally, the airline can transition from approximately half of its preceding-generation A320ceo aircraft, equipped with less fuel-efficient engines, to the newer models.

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