IndiGo places ''largest'' aircraft order in aviation history

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New Delhi/Paris, Jan 12 (PTI) In the single largestaircraft deal in global aviation history, no-frill carrierIndiGo will acquire 180 A-320s worth an estimated USD 15.6billion from European plane manufacturer Airbus.

The premier airline, which would launch internationalservices later this year subject to government permission,signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus at Toulousein France last evening for the 180 single-aisle aircraft.

Of these planes, 150 would belong to the eco-efficient''neo'' series, which are yet to be produced, and the remaining30 are the standard A-320s.

They are expected to be delivered between 2016 and2025. Engine selection for the aircraft would be announced bythe airline at a later date, an Airbus spokesperson said.

Though the value of the deal was not announced, butaccording to Airbus catalogue price the sale is worth USD 15.6billion or 12 billion euros.

"It is the largest single firm order for large jets incommercial aviation history," she said, adding it also makesIndiGo a launch customer for the A-320neo.

This is the second time that IndiGo has placed such amassive aircraft order, after its first agreement with Airbusin 2005 to buy 100 A-320s when the total order was worth USDsix billion. That order, the planes under which is currentlyin the process of being delivered, too was one of the highestby any domestic carrier at that time.

The A-320neos would incorporate more efficient enginesand large wing tip devices called Sharklets that would deliversignificant fuel savings of up to 15 percent and reduceemissions and engine noise, the spokesperson said.

"This order for fuel efficient aircraft will allowIndiGo to continue to offer low fares," said Rahul Bhatia,Group Managing Director of InterGlobe Enterprises that runsIndiGo, and Rakesh Gangwal, its co-founder.

IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said the additionalaircraft "will enable us to take our low fares and courteous,hassle-free service to more customers and destinations andwill create more job opportunities and growth for severalother aviation related businesses".

The airline has already sought government''s permissionfor launching global operations from the middle of this yearwhen it completes five years of domestic service.

Ghosh had earlier said that the global operationswould be launched to several destinations in West Asia,besides Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu and the Maldives.

IndiGo recently tipped Air India for the thirdposition in domestic market share, after Jet Airways andKingfisher Airlines respectively. .

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