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easyJet orders 12 Airbus A320neo and signs hybrid electric aircraft research deal

UK-headed easyJet plc, a leading European low-cost airline, has exercised purchase rights to increase its fleet of A320neos by 12 new aircraft. In addition, easyJet and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) related to a joint research project on hybrid and electric aircraft.

UK-headed low-cost airline easyJet has exercised purchase rights to increase its fleet of Airbus A320neos by 12 new aircraft. The agreement takes the carrier’s total order for A320neo Family to 159 aircraft (photo courtesy H Goussé / master films).

According to Airbus, easyJet has exercised purchase rights to increase its fleet of A320neos by 12 new aircraft. The agreement takes the carrier’s total order for the A320neo Family to 159 aircraft and its overall orders for Airbus single aisles to 480 A320 Family.

easyJet currently operates over 1 000 routes with a fleet of 333 A320 Family aircraft (39 A320neo Family and 294 A320ceo Family) and serves over 155 European airports in over 30 countries. From its first A320 Family delivery in 2003, easyJet has grown to operate Europe’s largest A320 Family fleet and is also Europe’s largest customer for the NEO.

The A320neo delivers 20 percent reduced fuel burn as well as 50 percent less noise compared to previous generation aircraft. Seating up to 240 passengers depending on cabin configuration, the A320neo Family features the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky and incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets.

At the end of October 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 7 000 firm orders from over 110 customers worldwide.

Joint research into hybrid- and full electric aircraft

Also announced, easyJet and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) related to a joint research project on hybrid and electric aircraft. The MoU is an important step towards “furthering the industry’s understanding of the operational and infrastructure opportunities and challenges” of plug-in hybrid and full electric aircraft.

Airbus will cooperate on three distinct work packages set to define the impacts and the requirements necessary for the large-scale introduction of next-generation sustainable aircraft on infrastructure and every-day commercial aircraft operations.

easyJet has a long tradition of efficient flying and a long-term partnership with Airbus. Our priority is to continue to work on reducing our carbon footprint in the short-term while we work to support the development of new technology, including hybrid-electric planes which promise to radically reduce the carbon footprint of aviation. I am therefore delighted to be working with Airbus on a new hybrid and electric plane research partnership. The project will aim to identify the detailed technical challenges and requirements for hybrid and electric planes when deployed for short-haul flying around Europe so that we can help shape the technology and airline networks of the future. We hope this will be an important step towards making hybrid-electric planes a reality, said Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet.

This collaboration supports the work already underway with easyJet partner and US start-up company, Wright Electric, which will continue alongside the Airbus collaboration.

Environmental performance is a top-level priority for Airbus, and we are proud to have easyJet on board as a partner for our hybrid and electric aircraft research. Airbus is committed to meeting aviation’s decarbonisation objectives. By focusing our research efforts on hybrid and electric propulsion technologies, we are doing just that – playing a leading role, alongside our customers, in the development of clean and safe technologies for the sustainable future of our industry, said Guillaume Faury, CEO, Airbus.

Wright Electric has set itself the challenge of building an all-electric commercial passenger jet capable of flying passengers across easyJet’s UK and European network within a decade. It has commenced work on an electric engine that will power a nine-seater aircraft.

Wright Electric partner Axter Aerospace already has a two-seater aircraft flying, and the larger aircraft is expected to start flying in the coming weeks. The prototype propulsion system for the nine-seat aircraft is four times more powerful than the system installed on the two-seat aircraft.

In addition to these initiatives, easyJet remains focused on operating its fleet as efficiently as possible using modern fuel-efficient engines which are quieter and burn less fuel as well as carrying as many passengers as possible in the aircraft.

Pioneering has always been a core element of the airline’s strategy and since 2000 easyJet has reduced its carbon emissions per passenger per kilometre by over one-third (33.67 percent).

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