UK budget carrier EasyJet is exercising rights to take another 30 Airbus A320neo jets, as well as six regular A320s, to achieve an early expansion in capacity.
The carrier disclosed the agreement with Airbus as it released its full-year financial results.
EasyJet say the aircraft will be delivered between 2018 and 2021. They will all be fitted with the higher-density 186-seat configuration.
The carrier is taking another 30 purchase rights on A320neos to replace those being exercised, it states.
“These aircraft will offer increased flexibility in fleet planning, including the faster replacement of some of our A319 aircraft,” it says.
EasyJet adds that they will generate lower overall unit costs and ensure that the airline can “continue to grow past 2019”. The carrier puts the cost savings at £27 million ($41 million).
It says the agreement with Airbus was reached on 16 November and puts the value of the aircraft, at catalogue prices, at $3.2 billion. CFM International will supply the engines, Leap-1As and CFM56s, for all 36 jets.
The 30 A320neos being firmed are part of a broader agreement reached in 2013. EasyJet says the additional six jets are baseline A320s which are being added to this agreement.
EasyJet says it has seen "robust trading" and its decision to expand the fleet is the result of "confidence both in the demand environment and our structural growth opportunities".
It revealed the deal as it turned in a full-year pre-tax profit rise of 18% to £686 million, on a 3.5% increase in revenues.
The airline’s revenues totalled almost £4.7 billion for the year to 30 September, as passenger numbers climbed by 6% to 68.6 million. It benefited from currency exchange movements and lower fuel costs, with its cost-per-seat declining by 3.4% during the year.
EasyJet says it raised capacity by 5% but is planning to increase the level next year by 7%.