Package holiday provider Jet2 today announced that it would buy 36 new A321 neos from Airbus, in a deal which values them at $4.9bn (£3.6bn) in a further note of positivity for the UK travel industry.
The aircraft will be delivered over a five year period, starting in 2023. The AIM-listed firm can increase its order to 60 aircraft if it wishes.
Jet2 said it had negotiated a “significant” price reduction below the list price of $4.9bn for the plane order but cannot disclose it.
Jet2 said that it was making the purchase in order “to meet the future anticipated growth of its Leisure Travel business and to refresh its existing aircraft fleet”.
The deal comes after 18 months of severe disruption for the travel industry, which has seen airlines cancel and defer new aircraft orders due to the collapse in flying.
But with short-haul travel especially now returning at a steady pace, airlines have begun to increase the size of their fleets again.
Earlier today Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary told a press conference that the airline was aiming to add 50 planes a year to its fleet.
Jet2’s deal will be a blow for Boeing, however, as it represents a switch of loyalties away from the US planemaker to its biggest rival.
The roughly 200-240-seat A321 neo has been outselling large versions of the Boeing 737 MAX by a wide margin, which only recently was recertified for flying after two fatal crashes.
Jet2 executive chairman Philip Meeson said: “We are delighted to have placed this order with Airbus and are proud to operate this aircraft which has more seats, provides additional operating benefits through lower fuel consumption and is, in our opinion, the most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft in its class today.
“It will ensure our Customers have a wonderfully comfortable and enjoyable experience as they travel with us for their well-deserved holidays.”
“We very much welcome Jet2.com’s decision. Traditionally having been operating non fly-by-wire aircraft, we note with great satisfaction that after having tested a couple of leased A321s and run a comprehensive evaluation, Jet2.com is forward looking and investing in modern and future proof Airbus fly-by-wire technology”, said Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of Airbus Internation.
“This is a testimony to Jet2.com’s vision of efficiency, quality, performance and environmentally friendly flying.”