UK budget carrier EasyJet has exercised purchase rights for another 17 Airbus A320neos, but is deferring the delivery of 18 of the type by up to two years.

The airline is also formally converting purchase rights for 25 A320neos into options – a switch which provides security on delivery slots in 2024.

EasyJet says the changes extend its fleet plans to 2023 while providing “more flexibility” in its capacity schedule.

The airline points out that Airbus has “limited availability” in its backlog, and that delivery slots – even those six years out – are “valuable”.

Its firmed orders are part of a broader agreement signed in 2013, which involved 135 Airbus jets and provides the airline with discounts.

EasyJet says the new deal with Airbus, unveiled during its full-year results presentation, gives it the flexibility to expand its fleet to 385 aircraft or reduce it to 316 by 2022.

Its fleet at the end of September stood at 315 aircraft – up from 279 at the end of the previous fiscal year – including the carrier’s first A321neos.

EasyJet took delivery of 49 aircraft over the financial year, and withdrew 13. The deliveries included 18 aircraft formerly operated by Air Berlin, which are being leased by the company, plus another 18 from Airbus.

It had received a pair of A321neos by the end of September and has since taken delivery of a third.

Source: Cirium Dashboard