Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, announced today that, following a competitive selection process, it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus S.A.S. relating to the purchase of 110 Airbus A321neo aircraft with deliveries to start in 2019. The memorandum of understanding also provides for uncommitted purchase rights in favour of Wizz Air over an additional 90 A321neo aircraft. The new aircraft will both replace current aircraft when they are returned to lessors as well as provide additional capacity for Wizz Air’s further growth. Under the memorandum of understanding Wizz Air has the right to substitute a number of the A321neo aircraft with the Airbus A320neo, depending on its future requirements. The agreement will also see Wizz Air cancel ten A320ceo family aircraft that were scheduled for delivery in 2018 under Wizz Air’s existing purchase agreement with Airbus S.A.S.
At current list prices, the MOU relating to the firmly-ordered aircraft is worth in excess of US$12.5billion although discounts will be granted. Completion of the order will be subject to final approval of the terms of the memorandum of understanding by Wizz Air’s Board of Directors, the successful negotiation of a final purchase agreement and, thereafter, to Wizz Air shareholder approval.
“We looked at different options for this order but Airbus came in with the best overall mix of aircraft, cost efficiency, support and price, so it made sense for us to continue our long relationship with them as we continue to expand our market reach across and beyond Europe,” said József Váradi, Wizz Air chief executive officer. “Our operations will continue to see significantly lower costs with these new aircraft achieved through cabin innovations, the latest engine technology, and efficiency improvements.
“As the company has recently highlighted, we have an exciting and compelling growth opportunity in Central and Eastern Europe where GDP growth rates significantly exceed that of more mature Western European markets, and the propensity for air travel is growing,” Váradi said. “Our order for 110 A321neo aircraft will provide the platform to sustain our disciplined expansion over the longer term, enable us to continue to offer low fares to customers across CEE and beyond and drive strong growth well into the next decade.
“Once finalized, our order will include the new A321neo Airbus Cabin Flex configuration with 239 seats in 18-inch comfort standard,” Váradi said. “This neo (new engine option) family offers significantly lower operating costs and fuel burn reductions that will directly impact our cost base.”
Wizz Air has taken delivery of 61 Airbus A320 aircraft from an order total of 112 that includes 27 high density A321s that will begin delivery in November. Deliveries of the remaining 41 aircraft which will remain on order, following the cancellation of 10 aircraft as part of the new order, will continue through mid-2018.