Business Irish

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Aer Lingus gets €640m fleet boost

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Stock image
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

AER Lingus is to receive a more than €640m fleet investment after IAG ordered six of the new Airbus A321XLR jets for the carrier.

The six aircraft have a list price of about $720m (€643m).

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The aircraft type - just formally launched this week by Airbus at the Paris air show - is a significant addition to the carrier and will open up new destinations beyond the US east coast for Aer Lingus.

And IAG has also given embattled Boeing a major boost, signing a letter of intent to buy 200 of the plane maker's 737 Max aircraft. They'll be used by IAG's Level, Vueling, and by British Airways out of London's Gatwick. The order will be for a mix of 737-800 and 737-10 aircraft.

That order, if formalised, would be worth $24bn (€21.5bn) at list prices, but IAG is certain to have negotiated a deep discount give the huge challenges Boeing has faced with the Max.

The 737 Max jets remain grounded all over the world after aircraft operated by Indonesia's Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines were involved in two deadly crashes. The manufacturer has been accused of failing to adequately test an anti-stall sensor system.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said that the Airbus aircraft ordered for Aer Lingus will boost operations out of Dublin.

"The A321XLR has the same unit cost as a widebody long-haul aircraft, which will enable profitable network expansion," he said. "This will strengthen both Dublin and Madrid hubs providing new transatlantic routes and additional flexibility for connecting passengers."

IAG has also taken an option on 14 of the new jets, which will be delivered starting in 2023.

Aer Lingus will be able to use the new aircraft to expand its network in North America. The airline intends to increase its long-haul fleet to 30 aircraft by 2023, from 17.

Irish Independent

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