In a multi-billion pound deal, easyJet will buy 56 Airbus A320neo family aircraft with the wings made by workers in Deeside. Tony McDonough reports
Airbus workers at Broughton in Deeside will produce the wings for 56 A320neo aircraft being purchased by easyJet in a multi-billion pound deal.
In an announcement to the stock market on Tuesday, easyJet said it will take delivery of the planes between 2026 and 2029. And a previously agreed deal for 18 A320neos to be delivered between 2024 and 2027 will be changed to A321neos.
These will replace aircraft in easyJet’s existing fleet. They include 156-seat Airbus A319s and older A320s (180 and 186-seat). A321neos offer 235 seats and are more fuel-efficient aircraft. This will help easyJet with its sustainability goals.
List price for the 56 planes is around £5.3bn. However, easyJet, which operates 25 routes out of Liverpool, will purchase the aircraft for “substantially below” that figure. This is due to a long-term agreement the carrier signed with Airbus in 2013.
These new aircraft will continue the modernisation of the easyJet fleet. They will deliver between a 15% and 25% unit cost fuel efficiency improvement (depending on which aircraft they replace).
This will significantly reduce easyJet’s fuel costs and improve its overall cost base. It will also reduce the costs of compliance with environmental regulations. The costs of carbon emissions will increase significantly over the next few years. Increased fuel efficiency will lead to a proportional reduction in carbon emissions.
Wings for the aircraft will be produced by workers at the giant Airbus factory at Broughton near Chester. In May the company said it was creating up to 550 new jobs at the plant, which currently employs 4,000 people.
At the start of the pandemic 6,000 were employed at the site but this was slashed by a third as orders slumped. However, in recent months Airbus has enjoyed a strong bounceback.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said: “The proposed purchase firms up our orders with Airbus between 2026 and 2029. It continues the company’s fleet refresh.
“As older A319s and A320s leave the airline and new A320 and A321 neo aircraft enter, this will provide benefits to easyJet through up gauging, cost efficiencies and sustainability enhancements.
“We believe this will support positive returns for the business and the delivery of our strategic objectives.”