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India’s IndiGo to buy 30 A350 planes: Airbus

NEW DELHI (AFP): Airbus said Thursday that Indian airline IndiGo had agreed to buy 30 A350 long-range jets as the carrier made its first-ever order for wide-body passenger planes.

“Airbus confirms that IndiGo, India’s largest airline, has agreed to place an order for 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft,” the European planemaker said in a statement, hailing “an exciting new chapter in our close partnership with IndiGo”.

The deal, to be signed in the coming days and worth $9.5 billion at list prices, will also see the Indian low-cost carrier, the country’s biggest by market share, place an option to buy 70 additional planes from the A350 family.

Deliveries will start from 2027 as IndiGo positions itself as a significant player in the long-haul market.

IndiGo carried 100 million passengers last year, primarily on domestic routes.

The A350 planes, with ranges of up to 15,000 kilometres (9,300 miles), will allow it to further expand its network.

“This is an exciting new chapter in our close partnership with IndiGo,” said Benoit de Saint-Exupery, Airbus’s executive vice president for commercial sales.

The order comes 10 months after Airbus and IndiGo agreed at last year’s Paris Air Show on the largest civil aviation order ever for single-aisle aircraft, for 500 aircraft from the A320neo family.

The list price for that mega deal topped $55 billion but in reality carriers earn a significant discount.

“The airline has revolutionised Indian domestic air travel with the A320neo family by making flying more accessible to more people. With the A350 selection, IndiGo is now embarking on further opening the world to India,” de Saint-Exupery said.

Indigo’s general director Pieter Elbers said in a statement the deal marked “the next phase of its transformation into one of the major players in global aviation”.

Overall, IndiGo has placed orders for almost 1,000 aircraft from the A320 family, Airbus’s most successful aircraft and rival of the Boeing 737 MAX, which has endured multiple setbacks after a series of safety scares.

The A350, the latest addition to Airbus’s ranks, will celebrate a decade of service this December. It has two versions, the 900 and the larger 1000.

The 900 can carry 300 to 350 passengers, or up to 440 in its densest configuration. The 1000 typically carries 350-410 passengers, or a maximum 480.

As of March, Airbus had taken 71 orders for the A350 since the start of the year. The range has become a top seller with more than 1,200 units snapped up to date.