© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Airbus is pictured at the entrance of the Airbus facility in Bouguenais, near Nantes, France, July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
By Paul Sandle
LONDON (Reuters) – EasyJet will buy 56 Airbus A320neo aircraft and convert a previous order to 18 new A321neo aircraft, the British airline said on Tuesday, completing a deferred 2013 agreement with the European planemaker.
Deliveries of the aircraft, which have a list price of $6.5 billion, will begin in easyJet (LON:)’s 2026 financial year to replace the carrier’s older A319 and A320 aircraft, the company said.
Air travel has rebounded strongly since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, with European carriers and airports struggling to meet demand.
Airbus and Boeing (NYSE:) are also facing challenges in increasing production, with supply chain pressures the biggest hurdle.
EasyJet said its order ensures it will be able to replace older aircraft and use more efficient jets that produce lower emisssions and less noise, paying substantially less than the list price thanks to concessions granted in the 2013 agreement.
The planes will be funded from cash flow, sale and leaseback transactions and debt, it said.
Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said the order continued the airline’s fleet refresh, providing additional seats and cost efficiencies.
“We believe this will support positive returns for the business and the delivery of our strategic objectives,” he said.
Shares in easyJet rose 0.7% in early trade.
In December 2020 easyJet agreed with Airbus to defer some deliveries of aircraft under the 2013 deal because the COVID-19 pandemic had put its finances under severe pressure.
The Airbus order had proved a source of dispute with easyJet’s biggest shareholder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who had opposed the investment at the height of the pandemic.