Spirit Airlines confirmed it will invest up to $12 billion for 100 Airbus A320neo aircraft, to be delivered over the next eight years. The news finalizes a "memorandum of understanding" for 50 aircraft and purchase options for 50 more, reported in October. Ted Christie, president and CEO of the Florida-based budget airline, said at that time that the “additional aircraft will be used to support Spirit’s growth as we add new destinations and expand our network across the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean.”
Spirit Airlines currently has a fleet of 140 Airbus aircraft. The new jets will be a variety of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo aircraft, according to the original report, though the carrier has not detailed the specific models to be delivered.
The A320neo series are the redesigned versions of Airbus’ twin-engine, narrow-body, medium-range jets, with "neo" designating it the "new engine option". This includes a choice of the CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines, and large sharklet details on the wing tips that improve the jets' aerodynamic performance. According to Airbus, the A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo deliver at least 20% reduced fuel burn and 50% less noise compared to the earlier versions of the A320 series.
The A320 (as well as the A220) series are produced by Airbus at its Mobile, Ala., assembly plant and parts used by that plant have been exempt from proposed U.S. tariffs on imported manufacturing goods from the European Union. So, filling the Spirit order from that location would allow Airbus and its customer to avoid the additional cost of production.