India's IndiGo makes history with record order for 500 Airbus narrow-body jets

Deal is the biggest single purchase agreement in the history of commercial aviation

IndiGo placed a firm order for 500 Airbus A320 family aircraft, with deliveries coming between 2030 and 2035. Photo: IndiGo
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India's discount airline IndiGo made history by placing the biggest single purchase agreement in the history of commercial aviation with a record order for 500 Airbus A320 family aircraft on Monday, handing the European plane maker a colossal win on the first day of the Paris Air Show over US rival Boeing.

The firm order surpasses Air India's provisional order in February for 470 jets from Airbus and Boeing, Airbus said in a statement.

The deal takes the Indian airline's order backlog to nearly 1,000 planes as it seeks to expand to meet a sharp surge in travel demand in the world's fastest-growing aviation market, IndiGo said in a statement on Monday.

The airline, which currently operates a fleet of more than 300 aircraft, has previous orders totalling 480 planes that have yet to be delivered through to the end of this decade.

“It is difficult to overstate the significance of IndiGo’s new historic order,” Pieter Elbers, the airline's chief executive, said.

The nearly 1,000-strong order “enables IndiGo to fulfil its mission to continue to boost economic growth, social cohesion and mobility in India”.

The aircraft deliveries will start in 2030 through to 2035, IndiGo said.

The engine selection for the order will be made “in due course”, as will the exact mix of A320 and A321 aircraft, the airline said.

“This landmark order marks a new chapter in Airbus and IndiGo’s relationship that is democratising affordable air travel for millions of people in the world’s fastest growing aviation market,” said Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of international at Airbus.

The deal solidifies Airbus's dominance over the single-aisle jet segment, which is the most widely flown aircraft type.

For IndiGo, the order allows the airline to capitalise on a travel boom in the world’s most populated country and drive its ambitions for international expansion.

Earlier this month, Airbus said that Asia and the Middle East, led by China and India, would power air traffic growth, further shifting aviation industry's “centre of gravity” eastward.

Earlier on Monday, Airbus scored another win in the major aviation market of Saudi Arabia.

Discount airline Flynas firmed up an order for 30 more Airbus A320neo family aircraft worth 14 billion Saudi riyals ($3.73 billion) at list prices, expanding operations in line with the country's ambitions to grow its aviation sector.

Updated: June 19, 2023, 4:54 PM