ILFC signed a firm contract for the purchase of 100 A320neo aircraft. This follows the signing of a MoU announced on March 8th 2011. ILFC confirmed selection of Pratt & Whitney engines for at least 60 of the aircraft. The agreement between Airbus and ILFC provides for model flexibility which initially includes both A320neo and A321neo types.
“The new A320neo aircraft will allow ILFC to offer a single-aisle aircraft that provides significant reduction in fuel consumption,” ILFC Chief Executive Officer Henri Courpron stated. “We have already seen significant market interest and are looking forward to seeing the aircraft enter service with our first customers from 2015.”The news announced by Airbus today highlights a few items we find especially interesting. There is no A319neo. You would think ILFC might consider the airplane, as it has experience with the A319. This suggests a question and you know what it is. Why would ILFC commit to so many NEOs and focus on the larger models? There is a certain smaller single aisle airplane…might this be in play?
Next item is the 2015 date – suggesting ILFC is pushing for the earliest possible delivery slots. Clearly that requires use of the GTF. It seems quite possible that ILFC could commit to more of these power plants. Clearly ILFC’s customers want to get their hands on the NEO as soon as possible. Earlier concerns with residual values on A320 family planes has abated just as Airbus said it would.
Certainly Airbus has rapidly achieved momentum with NEO. Having 500 sales by the airshow looks easy. Putting that smaller single aisle airplane under a lot of pressure – just as Mr Leahy suggested. And what of the other elephant in the room? The silence from Seattle is deafening. What are they really up to? ILFC is a big 737 customer after all. Committing to 100 NEO is no small statement. How realistic is it that ILFC might commit a similar order for the 737?