Low-cost carrier Wizz Air has taken a step towards ramping up its expansion efforts, with the announcement this morning that it has tied up a deal with Airbus for 146 new aircraft worth over $17.2bn (£13.1bn).
The Hungarian airline said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for 146 A320neo family aircraft, comprised of 72 A320neo and 74 A321neo.
Deliveries will start in 2022, with the majority of the aircraft set to be delivered in 2025 and 2026, following the delivery of 110 Airbus A321neo that Wizz Air ordered in 2015.
Wizz Air boss József Váradi said the new range of aircraft will be a "game-changer" for the airline as it continues to grow, and aims to "expand our market reach across, and beyond, Europe".
The next-step technology aircraft will enable us to continue to lower our operating costs as we drive towards our goal of Wizz Air being the lowest fare and lowest unit cost airline in Europe.
Completion of the deal, which would bring Wizz Air's outstanding orders with Airbus to 282 aircraft, remains subject to approval by Wizz Air shareholders.
The central and eastern Europe-focused airline has been prepping for future growth, announcing last month that it had applied for a licence in Britain in order to secure its post-Brexit flying rights, regardless of the outcome of negotiations between Britain and the European Union.
Wizz Air said the move will result in 100 new jobs being added to its Luton base by the end of next year, and formed part of its broader strategy to ensure its UK operations "are Brexit-ready".
Earlier this month, the carrier lifted its full-year profit forecast after reporting record first-half results. It has added 57 new routes over the first six months of the year, taking its network to over 550 routes across 28 bases in 43 countries.
For the year as a whole, Wizz Air expects to grow capacity by 23 per cent.