Indian budget airline IndiGo is close to placing a near-record order for more than 300 Airbus A320neo-family jets worth $33 billion at recent catalogue prices, in one of Airbus' biggest ever orders from a single carrier.
The landmark deal includes Airbus's newest jet, a long-range version of the single-aisle A320neo family called the A321XLR and is intended to help IndiGo cement its position as India's largest carrier by market share.
"The fuel-efficient A320neo family aircraft will allow IndiGo to maintain its strong focus on lowering operating costs and delivering fuel efficiency with high standards of reliability," Riyaz Peermohamed, Chief Aircraft Acquisition and Financing Officer of IndiGo, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Indian budget airline is already the largest operator of Airbus's latest-generation single-aisle model, which have become a top seller as they offer airlines considerable savings in fuel, one of their biggest costs.
The deal follows a fierce contest between Airbus and Boeing, which is seeking new endorsement for its 737 MAX airliner, which has been grounded since March following two fatal accidents.
Airbus outstrips Boeing
"We are pleased to see our aircraft allowing IndiGo to take full advantage of the predicted growth in Indian air travel," Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury was quoted by a statement as saying.
An Airbus estimate of the need for new planes in India over the next 20 years foresees domestic traffic that is 4.8 times greater than at present.
IndiGo has expanded rapidly to claim almost half the Indian market as rivals such as bankrupt Jet Airways fall by the wayside. Its closest competitor is SpiceJet, a Boeing operator.
At the end of September, Airbus had recorded more than 6,650 firm orders from nearly 110 clients for planes from the A320neo line, while Boeing had booked 4,930 orders for the 737 MAX.