Airbus S.E. confirmed an estimated $49.5-billion contract for 430 aircraft from Indigo Partners, a Phoenix-based private-equity fund that operates four low-cost airlines, including Denver-based Frontier Airlines. The contract had been announced as a "memorandum of understanding" during November at the 2017 Dubai Air Show.
At that time, Airbus described the Indigo order as the largest in its history.
The confirmation of the order prompted some analysts to comment that Airbus may edge rival Boeing Commercial Airplanes in their annual competition to post the highest number of new orders. Airbus also recently reported orders for 100 new aircraft from two other leasing firms, AerCap and China Aircraft Leasing.
Indigo ordered 274 A320neo and 156 A321neo aircraft, to be assigned to Frontier Airlines (100 A321neo jets); Hungary’s Wizz Air (72 A320neos and 74 A321neos); Chile’s JetSmart (56 A320neos and 14 A321neos); and Mexico’s Volaris (46 A320neos and 34 A321neos.)
The A320neo aircraft are single-aisle jets reintroduced by Airbus in 2014 with a choice of CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G turbofan engines.
Indigo managing partner Bill Franke indicated that engine selections for the 430 jets will be made later.
The A320neo family also incorporates other changes to the aircraft and wings to improve fuel efficiency.
“These customer-friendly and efficient A320neo family aircraft form a great platform for continued growth for our family of ultra-low-cost airlines,” Franke stated.