Easyjet exercises an option to purchase 56 A320neo aircraft from Airbus

The airline Easyjet announced on Tuesday that it would exercise a purchase option with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus which will supply it with 56 A320neo planes, which represents at the list price of 2018 some 6.5 billion dollars. The British carrier explains, however, that the price paid is “much lower” thanks to discounts obtained from Airbus under a 2013 contract. The “conditional” agreement announced on Tuesday also provides for the conversion of 18 A320neo aircraft in A321neo, according to the press release. The 56 A320neo were to be delivered between 2026 and 2029, and the 18 A321neo between 2024 and 2027.

“The proposed purchase strengthens Easyjet’s order book with Airbus until 2028 and continues the rejuvenation of the fleet” of the “low cost” company, with the phasing out of older A320s or A319s, details the press release. . Easyjet points out that these new planes consume 15 to 25% less fuel, and can carry more passengers, which offers both economic and environmental benefits, according to the press release. Easyjet had published a month ago a reduced net loss in the first half of its staggered financial year thanks to the resumption of post-containment air traffic, and was optimistic for the summer.

Severe labor shortage in the sector

The airline sector has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which paralyzed global traffic for months. Since the lifting of health restrictions in many countries, notably the United Kingdom, at the start of the year, carriers are now facing difficulties in meeting the surge in demand, mainly due to severe labor shortages. ‘work.

The company has thus had to reduce its flight capacity discounts for the summer season due to the lack of staff, which will have a financial impact, she warned on Monday, without giving a quantified evaluation. On the London Stock Exchange, the title of Easyjet fell 0.29% to 442.40 pence around 9 a.m.

“The chaotic period at UK airports may have prompted Easyjet to announce flights this summer but hasn’t stopped it ‘thinking’ long-term,” said AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould. It should be noted, however, that these purchases must be “approved by shareholders who may be unhappy with the share’s weak performance this year”.

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