Mexican low-cost carrier VivaAerobus has signed an agreement to buy 52 Airbus A320 family aircraft, and will shed its all-Boeing 737 fleet by 2016.

VivaAerobus' order comprises 40 A320neos and 12 current generation A320s, and is worth $5.1 billion at list prices. It also has options for an additional 40 A320neos, the airline says later today. VivaAerobus now operates 19 Boeing 737-300s, Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows.

The order is the largest Airbus purchase made by a single carrier in Latin America, says the airframer. VivaAerobus has not selected an engine for the aircraft.

VivaAerobus will transition to the A320s in 2014, and will operate only Airbus narrowbodies by 2016 after it replaces its 737 fleet with the new aircraft.

"After evaluating the latest aircraft technology with the objective of further reducing our costs, improving our reliability, punctuality and the overall passenger experience, today we are proud to announce that the Airbus A320 has been our final choice. This is an important milestone for our customers, shareholders and staff,” says Juan Carlos Zuazua, VivaAerobus chief executive, in a statement. “This decision will support our growth strategy, as it will allow us to further reduce our industry leading fares, and will increase the cost-per-seat advantage we currently have among our competitors.”

Zuazua says the A320neo offers at least 30% of fuel savings over the airline's 737-300.

"These aircraft provide Viva with additional capacity to exploit substantial growth opportunities in Mexico, while growing in our main hubs such as Monterrey, Guadalajara, Cancun, as well as in five potential hubs we are evaluating," he adds.

Airbus chief operating officer customers John Leahy says that Airbus is proud to add VivaAerobus as a customer. "The A320 family offers the best productivity, the lowest operating costs, the fastest turnarounds and best fuel efficiency of any single-aisle aircraft."

VivaAerobus' 737s have in-service dates ranging from 1985 to 1998, Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows.

Airbus has sold more than 800 aircraft in Latin America and the Caribbean, and holds a backlog of almost 400 aircraft in the region.

Source: Cirium Dashboard