British no-frills airline easyJet has announced it has ordered a large number of fuel-efficient jets from EADS subsidiary Airbus. The news came on the second day of the Paris air show pitching Airbus against Boeing.
EasyJet on Tuesday announced a deal to purchase 135 Airbus single-aisle A320 passenger planes, including 100 next-generation neo aircraft. It said the planes were to be delivered between 2015 and 2022.
The British low-budget carrier will have to pay 8.9 billion euros ($11.9 billion), much less than the list price for the aircraft in question.
"All manufacturers competed hard for the easyJet business," CEO Carolyn McCall said in a statement. "Both Airbus and Boeing offered us new-generation aircraft that met our requirements and offered greatly improved fuel efficiency. But ultimately, Airbus offered us the best deal, and at a price with a greater discount than their landmark fleet purchase with easyJet in 2012," McCall added.
The deal is a defeat for US plane maker Boeing who'd hoped to reverse easyJet's shift to Airbus 10 years ago at the current Le Bourget air show, the world's largest business event in the aviation sector.
The British airline said it would use 85 of the ordered aircraft to replace ageing passenger planes and needed the remaining 50 to build on its strategy of increasing its seat capacity by between 3 and 5 percent annually.
The order is still subject to approval by easyJet shareholders, including the largest - the airline's founder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou. He has bitterly opposed any fleet extension, arguing that the carrier should be returning money to shareholders through dividends rather than increasing its seat capacity.
hg/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)