easyJet shareholders voted to buy 56 Airbus planes at an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday. The vote confirmed a provisional order with the Toulouse aircraft manufacturer, with Airbus announcing the firm order shortly afterwards. Despite some earlier concerns about buying from key shareholders, the need to lock in the supply of new aircraft in the medium to long term to support network growth outweighed other issues.
easyJet strengthens its Airbus fleet
The airline headquartered at Luton Airport is already a major Airbus customer, with more than 300 of its A320 family aircraft in the air. Following Wednesday’s meeting, an additional 56 A320neo Family aircraft will join the fleet between 2026 and 2029. Additionally, an existing order for 18 A320neo Family aircraft will be converted to orders for 18 A321neo aircraft. These conversions will land between 2024 and 2027.
Airbus and easyJet completed the deal at Farnborough on Wednesday. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying
“We believe this order will support positive returns for the business and the achievement of our strategic objectives,” said Kenton Jarvis, easyJet’s Chief Financial Officer. “The new aircraft are aligned with easyJet’s sustainability strategy, with the adoption of more efficient new technology aircraft being a central part of easyJet’s path to net zero emissions. At the same time, the new aircraft are significantly quieter, with half the noise footprint of the older planes they replace.”
The purchase decision is driven by easyJet’s plan for fleet renewal and improving cost, cost and business sustainability. At list prices, the value of Wednesday’s deal is around $6.5 billion, although easyJet said it would rely on a long-standing deal with Airbus to secure a deep discount.
easyJet and Airbus have confirmed an order for a further 56 Airbus A320neo family jets. Photo: easyJet
Some relief after a tough summer at easyJet
Wednesday’s deal comes amid a tough summer for easyJet. Unusually high temperatures in Europe are causing flight disruptions at easyJet and elsewhere. Longer-term labor shortages and operational problems at European airlines and airports have caused turnover problems at easyJet. However, easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said he was overcoming these challenges.
“We can’t help if the slopes are closed because they are melting,“, he told the Farnborough International Airshow this week. “But the things that are actually in our control – they have been stabilized.
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Mr. Lundgren acknowledged the current challenges in the air traffic control environment, ground handlers and airports. He notes that they have avoided many capacity problems affecting airlines at Heathrow simply because easyJet does not use this airport. But the CEO also said he was broadly backed by capping flights, which easyJet has already done this summer.
“We were in favor of a ceiling. Because clearly, the airport is in the best position to assess what the whole system can provide, in terms of ground handling for example,said Mr. Lundgren.The airport has the best view of the situation.”
We control the challenges we can control, says easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren (pictured). Photo: easyJet
Wednesday’s easyJet/Airbus announcement confirms a provisional order, so this is not new news. But it’s good news for Airbus this week, which was completely overtaken in the Farnborough sales stakes by Boeing. Small players Embraer and ATR are also doing well. While these manufacturers regularly spit out statements detailing new sales, Airbus languishes. Rumors of deals with Airbus have so far failed to materialize. There are still two days left at Farnborough, so there is time for a late run from Airbus, but they will need some easyJet-style deals to match Boeing’s commercial successes this week.