Aegean Airlines, now in effect the main Greek carrier, has signed a memorandum to buy 20 Airbus A320neos and 10 A321neos, plus 12 options.
Alongside the MOU, which is expected to be formalised in June, Airbus said Aegean will also take a number of A320neo family aircraft from leasing companies.
Aegean Airlines is preparing to grow to a 75-aircraft fleet by 2023. Aegean bought out Olympic Air in 2013, and currently operates 46 Airbus A320-family aircraft and 12 turboprops.
Aegean took on most of its current A320 fleet during 2007-11, so their leases will end around 2023-24.
Aegean was entirely open to either Airbus or Boeing for its re-fleeting but the 737Max just didn’t fit its requirements.
The order would be valued at $5 billion at list prices, so around $3.5 billion in reality.
Aegean is planning on 10 A321neos, but it has the right to convert further A320neos to the larger variant.
The airline will choose between Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G or CFM International’s LEAP-1A by July 2018.
In 2017 Aegean operated 37 A320s, eight A321s and one A319, along with 12 turboprops. The agreement forms part of the company’s overall fleet expansion and renewal program, planned for 2020-2025.
Under Aegean’s five-year plan, another 25 destinations out of Athens are being scheduled, growing its passenger numbers from 13.2 million to 16 million.
Aegean started operations in 1999 and has survived Greece’s almost complete economic collapse in 2007-14, caused by unreported national debts hidden by former governments.