British low-cost airline Jet2 has placed an order for 35 Airbus A320neo aircraft after switching its allegiance to the Europe-based manufacturer in 2021. The airline ordered 36 A321neos last year when it ‘ditched’ Boeing for its more fuel-efficient European counterpart.

Jet2 purchased 35 A320neo aircraft
The British carrier will take delivery of the fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft towards the end of this decade over the space of three years © Skycolors/Shutterstock

Jet2 will see delivery of the A320s between 2028 and 2031

The deal, worth a whopping 3.9 billion US dollars, will see the low-cost carrier extend its total of firm-ordered aircraft from 98 to 146. The airline will also have the option of extending the total to 71 aircraft, betting on the ever-increasing popularity of package holidays.

The A320s are due to be delivered between 2028 and 2031, financed through ‘internal resources’ and debt. The airline also said that it managed to negotiate and secure a significant discount on the list price, meaning the estimated list price of 3.9 billion is unlikely to be the final amount owed.

“We are delighted to build on our existing relationship with Airbus and to have placed this additional aircraft order which provides the Company with certainty of supply well into the next decade,” said Jet2 Executive Chairman Philip Meeson.

Executive Chairman Meeson is confident that the airline’s “sector leading” customer service is to thank for ongoing growth, especially in their package holiday deals. “The order reflects our confidence that we have a much-loved product built on sector-leading Customer Service, which we can continue to grow,” said Mr Meeson.

Airbus A320neo on a runway
The A320neo is known as the plane that forced Boeing into redesigning the 737 MAX © Airbus

The aircraft that forced Boeing’s hand to produce the ‘dangerous’ 737 MAX

Boeing re-engineered the 737 MAX aircraft, famously cutting corners and producing a ‘dangerous’ aircraft, following the emergence of the A320neo in 2010. It was this Airbus aircraft that set in motion a chain of events that took the world of aviation by shock.

Due to a demand for more fuel-efficient planes, both manufacturing giants were in a race to develop new aircraft. The European-based manufacturer beat Boeing to the punch by releasing the A320 in 2010. It was an instant success, with many airlines pledging numerous purchases. However, Boeing had nothing in the works ready to compete with such fuel efficiency.

This forced the American manufacturer to re-develop its existing best-seller, the 737. What happened next is etched in history as one of the most deceitful and tragic events in aviation history. The addition of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) to the 737 MAX was out of necessity in the eyes of Boeing engineers. The 737 was fitted with new fuel-efficient engines far larger than the engines used on previous models. This meant the aircraft’s flight characteristics were changed, forcing the American manufacturer to implement MCAS in a bid to stop the plane from stalling in a nose-up position.

A logo of Airbus at the entrance of its factory in Blagnac near Toulouse, France
The French aircraft manufacturer took over Boeing’s market share for the first time in the naughties, forcing the American manufacturer to deviate from its century-old safety reputation © Benoit Tessier/Reuters

However, as it later came to light, the MCAS system was not needed for the American airline to pass ground clearance regulations. It had actually installed a faulty system that it had lied to airlines about. Despite internal memos from Boeing employees raising concerns about the safety of the MAX aircraft, higher-ups continued to bury the lead. Tragedy struck in 2018 and 2019 when a Lion Air flight and an Ethiopian Airlines flight came down in suspiciously similar circumstances, leading to the aircraft being grounded worldwide.

Airbus has since continued delivering A320neos, converting once loyal Boeing airlines to their fuel-efficient, cheaper aircraft, offering strong competition in the single-aisle aircraft category.

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