Indigo, India’s largest domestic airline by market share, on Monday said it is ordering jet engines worth $20 billion from CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and France’s Safran SA, to power 280 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft operated by it.
The latest development sees India’s biggest buyer of Airbus’s A320neo planes moving away to a rival engine maker from Pratt & Whitney (P&W), following a series of glitches that grounded several of its planes and delayed aircraft deliveries, disrupting operations. IndiGo, which held a domestic market share of 49.9% in April, has ordered 430 A320neo family jets.
The airline, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, currently has a fleet of over 230 aircraft consisting of Airbus A320, Airbus A320neo and Airbus A321 planes.
The airline will add 53 narrow body aircraft, including 15 Airbus A321, during the current fiscal year, apart from taking delivery of 11 ATR aircraft.
“IndiGo has been a CFM customer since 2016 and currently operates a fleet of 17 A320ceo aircraft powered by CFM56-5B engines as part of a total fleet of 215 A320/A321 family aircraft. Delivery of the first LEAP-1A-powered A320neo is scheduled in 2020," IndiGo said in a statement.
The CFM engine order by IndiGo is a huge blow to Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp., which has been beset by delivery delays and groundings in India after spending $10 billion to develop its fuel-efficient geared turbofan for single-aisle jets.
On the other hand, the deal strengthens CFM’s presence in India, the world’s fastest growing aviation market last year, with Vistara and state-run Air India Ltd already using its engines. “We are pleased to partner with CFM for our next batch of Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft," said Riyaz Peermohamed, chief aircraft acquisition and financing officer, IndiGo.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.