Budget air carrier Spirit Airlines will buy up to 100 Airbus A320neo aircraft, an order that could be worth up to $12 billion depending upon the combination of jet models selected. The deal currently exists as a "memorandum of understanding", not a firm order, and it’s unknown when the deal may be finalized or when the deliveries may begin.
The airline’s president/CEO Ted Christie said 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. We look forward to working with our valued partners at Airbus to finalize our agreement.”
At present the Florida-based carrier serves 76 destinations in North and South America, and the Caribbean.
Spirit Airlines currently has a fleet of 140 aircraft, all of them Airbus models.
A320neo aircraft are the redesigned versions of Airbus’ twin-engine, narrow-body, medium-range jets. The "neo" designation indicates the "new engine option", with a choice of the CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine.
The updated design also includes large sharklet details on the wing tips: According to Airbus, the A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo deliver at least 20% reduced fuel burn and 50% less noise compared to the earlier version of the A320 series. Through September, Airbus has more than 6,650 firm orders for A32neo series jets, from over 100 customers.
One detail that may delay the final order could be the pending U.S. tariffs on some Airbus products. Aircraft deliveries typically are staged over several years, so new jets ordered now would be affected by tariffs only if the trade situation remains contentious over that time. However, Airbus produces the A320 series aircraft at its Mobile, Ala., assembly plant, the products of which reportedly will be exempted from the tariffs.