Central European budget carrier Wizz Air has placed an order for 50 additional Airbus A320s, increasing its firm commitments to 82 of the type.

Hungarian-headquartered Wizz Air, which currently operates 13 Airbus A320s, will use the additional aircraft to add frequencies and open new routes.

The aircraft will be configured in a 180-seat, all-economy layout.

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Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi says: “Wizz Air has demonstrated its ability for sustainable growth, where cost efficiency is the key to generate market and win competition. Our choice of aircraft plays a big part in this cost efficiency.

“The A320 continues to deliver low operating costs, high operational reliability and customer satisfaction whilst enabling us to remain environmentally conscious. The new aircraft order will make Wizz Air the largest fleet operator in the region.”

An Airbus spokeswoman says Wizz Air is yet to disclose its engine selection, but the airline’s existing A320s are all International Aero Engines V2500-powered.

Airbus says: “The contract represents the largest ever order in the region for a single Airbus type, and will enable Wizz Air to become one of the biggest airlines in central and Eastern Europe within the next decade. Wizz Air has already ordered 32 new A320s from Airbus, and operates several additional A320s on lease.”

Wizz Air placed an order for 12 A320s plus 12 options in 2005 and signed a follow-on deal for 20 of the type in 2006. The status of the 12 options is not immediately clear following the announcement on 10 October.

Since beginning operations in 2003, it has taken delivery of nine leased A320s and four aircraft from the 2005 direct-purchase deal. The airline has US aviation investment house Indigo Partners as a major shareholder, but has been talking about a possible London flotation.

Source: FlightGlobal.com