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easyJet has signed a conditional arrangement with Airbus and converted previous purchase options and rights for 56 Airbus A320neo aircraft to secure precious production slots with the European airframer. It also further up gauges the fleet and replaces older aircraft with newer, the airline said on June 21. easyJet converts another 56 purchase rights to secure Airbus slots.

The 56 aircraft will be delivered from FY26 through FY29 and were previously in the backlog as purchase options and purchase rights as part of an order originally placed in 2013. This means that the carrier will benefit from highly competitive pricing and will pay substantially less than the $6.5 billion that the order represents under 2018 list prices, the last year Airbus announced these. easyJet said in May that it had 115 A320neo family aircraft on backlog plus 59 purchase rights and options.

The 2013 arrangement also offers flexibility to change delivery schedules and type variants. As part of the latter, easyJet is taken the right to convert eighteen A320neo’s into bigger A321neo’s. These aircraft will be delivered earlier between FY24 and FY27. By opting for the bigger model, easyJet further up-gauges its fleet as the A321neo’s have 235 seats compared to 186 seats on the A320neo.

The first of the 56 additional aircraft will follow later. In an investor’s update, easyJet says: “Airbus delivery slots are increasingly scarce, with no slots being available until 2027. By securing delivery slots now, easyJet ensures future deliveries between FY 2026 and FY 2029 to replace aircraft leaving the fleet. The Company and its group’s ability to maintain desirable slots and sustain its route network depends on the timely delivery of aircraft.

The exercise of the purchase rights doesn’t come as a surprise. Director of Flight Operations David Morgan told AirInsight recently that easyJet would invest in more A320neo family aircraft as part of its fleet renewal plan. The carrier will gradually phase out its A319 and A320ceo’s.

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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