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IndiGo places 'largest' aircraft order with Airbus

Of the 180 planes for which the order has been placed, 150 would belong to the eco-efficient 'neo' series, which are yet to be produced, while the remaining will be  A-320s.

twitter-logoPTI | January 12, 2011 | Updated 17:00 IST

In the single largest aircraft deal in global aviation history, no-frill carrier IndiGo will acquire 180 A-320s worth an estimated $15.6 billion (about Rs 70,000 crore) from European plane manufacturer Airbus.

The premier airline, which would launch international services later this year subject to government permission, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus at Toulouse in France last evening for the 180 single-aisle aircraft.

Of these planes, 150 would belong to the eco-efficient 'neo' series, which are yet to be produced, and the remaining 30 are the standard A-320s.

They are expected to be delivered between 2016 and 2025. Engine selection for the aircraft would be announced by the airline at a later date, an Airbus spokesperson said.

Though the value of the deal was not announced, but according to Airbus catalogue price the sale is $15.6 billion or 12 billion euros.

"It is the largest single firm order for large jets in commercial aviation history," she said, adding it also makes IndiGo a launch customer for the A-320neo.

This is the second time IndiGo has placed such a massive aircraft order, after its first agreement with Airbus in 2005 to buy 100 A-320s when the total order was worth $6 billion. That order, the planes under which are currently in the process of being delivered, was one of the highest by any domestic carrier at the time.

The A-320neos would incorporate more efficient engines and large wing tip devices called Sharklets that would deliver significant fuel savings of up to 15 per cent and reduce emissions and engine noise, the spokesperson said.

"This order for fuel efficient aircraft will allow IndiGo to continue to offer low fares," said Rahul Bhatia, group managing director of InterGlobe Enterprises that runs IndiGo, and Rakesh Gangwal, its co-founder.

IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said the additional aircraft "will enable us to take our low fares and courteous, hassle-free service to more customers and destinations and will create more job opportunities and growth for several other aviation related businesses".

The airline has already sought government's permission for launching global operations from the middle of this year when it completes five years of domestic service.

Ghosh had earlier said the global operations would be launched to several destinations in West Asia, besides Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu and the Maldives.

IndiGo recently tipped Air India for the third position in domestic market share, after Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines respectively.

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