IAG spending over €600m on jets for Aer Lingus
IAG has ordered six Airbus A321XLR jets for Aer Lingus, with a list price of about $720m (€643m).
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.
The 240-seater aircraft has a range of up to 8,700km in a two-class layout. It will typically have a maximum of an eight-hour flight time.
IAG has also ordered right of the new aircraft for Iberia, with first deliveries of the jets taking place in 2023. It has also taken 14 options.
“The A321XLR will be used to expand both Aer Lingus and Iberia’s existing longhaul fleets,” said IAG. “Each aircraft will be fitted with economy and business cabins, including full flat seats.”
“The A321XLR has the same unit cost as a widebody longhaul aircraft which will enable profitable network expansion,” said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh.
“This will strengthen both Dublin and Madrid hubs providing new transatlantic routes and additional flexibility for connecting passengers,” he added. “These aircraft will also bring further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits.”
IAG acquired Aer Lingus in 2015. IAG has invested heavily in the carrier since then.
Last year, it opened routes from Dublin to Seattle and Philadelphia.
Mr Doyle said in February that the A321XLR, with an even longer range, would be capable of reaching some US west coast destinations. Aer Lingus already serves San Francisco and Los Angeles.
"There are plenty of opportunities for growth and we're pursuing them," said Mr Doyle at the time.
"Our business plan has us growing from 17 [long-haul] aircraft today to 30 by 2023. That, by any measure, is significant expansion."
Aer Lingus revenue rose 8.8pc to €2.02bn last year, while its operating profit was almost 14pc higher, at €305m.