Airbus wins 28-plane A320neo order from Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways
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Airbus wins 28-plane A320neo order from Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways

Airbus wins 28-plane A320neo order from Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways

Jazeera already operates an all-Airbus fleet of original-generation A320s and eight A320neos

Kuwaiti carrier Jazeera Airways inked an outline order for 28 narrow-body jets from Airbus for the next phase of its fleet expansion.

The deal, with a list price in excess of $3.5bn before discounts, comprises 20 A320neos and eight larger A321neos, with an option to purchase five further aircraft, the companies said on Tuesday at the Dubai Airshow.

Jazeera already operates an all-Airbus fleet of original-generation A320s and eight A320neos, the ninth of which is due this month, extending the total to 17 planes. The new aircraft won’t come for five years, though Airbus sales chief Christian Scherer said he’ll try to accelerate deliveries if build rates allow.

Jazeera, which has previously leased its aircraft, said that older planes will be replaced as the new ones arrive, extending the fleet to as many as 35 aircraft.

“We believe that’s a reasonable size for a base carrier in Kuwait,” chief executive officer Rohit Ramachandran said at a signing ceremony. “Anything more would be science fiction.”

Jazeera stopped short of selecting longer-range versions of the A321neo, though Kuwait’s position in the northwest Gulf means it can already reach Western Europe, with London Heathrow flights operational and services to Manchester, Birmingham and elsewhere planned in six months.

“We are lucky with the geographic location of our home base, it gives us access to the vast majority of European airports even without having an LR or an XLR,” Ramachandran said. He added that Jazeera also needs to be sure that longer trips won’t undermine its low-cost approach.

The CEO had told Bloomberg on November 1 that the airline was also considering Boeing Co. 737 Max jets, though a deal with Airbus was most likely.

Jazeera, which laid off about 500 employees last year, is in recovery mode after the coronavirus pandemic grounded flights, rehiring staff who want to rejoin. The carrier’s third-quarter earnings wiped out first-half losses, while cash reserves are at an all-time high.

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