Avianca Holdings committed to buy 100 new A32neo aircraft from Airbus, an order that represents the largest single contract in the history of Latin American commercial aviation. At current list prices, the contract would be worth $10.6 billion.
Avianca is the Colombian national airline, and the agreement will allow it to replace airplanes now operating from its Bogota, Lima, and San Salvador hubs with new A319neo, A320neo and A321neo jets. Airbus noted the new jets would give Avianca one of the youngest fleets in the region.
“This historic order allows us to solidify our passenger experience strategy in local markets on a broader scale,” stated Fabio Villegas Ramirez, Avianca CEO.
The Airbus A320 series are among the most widely used aircraft in commercial aviation, with about 6,400 jets delivered to over 400 customers. The A320neo to be introduced in 2016 will be a new, more fuel-efficient variant, with a larger payload and a range of 500 miles. To date, Airbus has reported 2,817 orders for the A320neo. Among these are 345 firm orders for A320neos from six customers in Latin America, including Avianca.
The A320neo will have much the same airframe as the current A320 series but a more efficient engine (either the CFM International LEAP 1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1100 G) and wing design that will help the jets achieve fuel savings of up to 15%. Airbus also estimates the jets will produce significantly less CO2 and NOx emissions, and reduced engine noise.
Avianca has partnered with Airbus on its fleet modernization and expansion programs for several years. In 2012, Avianca ordered 51 A320 aircraft, including 33 A320neo aircraft. The airline has ordered nearly 200 Airbus aircraft in total, most of which are in operation now.
“Thanks to the A320neo family’s fuel efficiency, technical reliability and unique passenger comfort, we can further Avianca’s fleet modernization process, while connecting the region and supporting its development,” continued Villegas Ramirez.