While Boeing continues its struggle to get the 737 MAX back into operation, Airbus collects more orders with rival A320neo. But this week’s announcement exceeded any expectations. Indian low-cost airline IndiGo has firmly placed an order for 300 A320neo family aircraft.
According to Airbus, it is one of the largest orders ever made by only one operator in its history. The order involves a mix of A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR aircraft, but the totals were not disclosed.
IndiGo is currently India’s largest airline with a fleet of nearly 250 aircraft. Although it has some ATR turboprop engines, the base of the fleet is really A320 and A321 jets, 97 of them A320neo, the world’s largest fleet of this model. Founded in 2004, the company started flying two years later and has since experienced spectacular growth. To account for the expansion, the company has 730 aircraft ordered from Airbus, including the new order.
“This order is an important milestone, as it reiterates our mission of strengthening air connectivity in India, which will in turn boost economic growth and mobility. India is expected to continue with its strong aviation growth and we are well on our way to build the world’s best air transportation system, to serve more customers and deliver on our promise of providing low fares and a courteous, hassle free experience to them, ” said Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer of IndiGo.
“We are delighted that IndiGo, one of our early launch customers for the A320neo, continues to build its future with Airbus, making IndiGo the world’s largest customer for the A320neo Family,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer.
Market in crisis
The massive order contrasts with the problems faced by Indian airlines despite the growth of the commercial aviation market. In April, the country’s second largest airline, Jet Airways, suspended all its flights because of financial problems and today seeks a buyer to fly again. Among those interested is businessman German Efromovich, owner of Avianca Brasil, which also stopped operating this year for the same reasons.
Jet Airways’ case is not isolated in one of the world’s largest aviation markets, which transported more than 170 million passengers last year. Air India, the country’s traditional flag company, has been operating in the red for many years, but survives because it is a state-owned company. Other airlines like SpiceJet, GoAir and Vistara vie for the Indian market, but without threatening the leaders.
IndiGo itself went into trouble this year when its founders made public disagreements in the management of the company, which now accounts for nearly half of all passengers transported in India. It seems that, with the gigantic order, this dispute was in the background, fortunately.