Budget carrier EasyJet has said its decision to take up an option for 15 Airbus A320s is part of a carefully targeted growth strategy.
The self-styled “web’s favourite airline” has also agreed new options for 33 additional A320s and converted an order for 10 A319s to A320s.
The carrier’s fleet growth strategy had been at the centre of a bitter dispute with founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou and former chief executive Andy Harrison.
However, the two sides have reached an agreement about their future relationship with Haji-Ioannou taking a larger dividend and the airline given greater flexibility over its future strategy.
New chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “A central feature of the [Airbus] agreement is the flexibility it gives EasyJet to vary the growth rate in its capacity to reflect economic conditions and market opportunities.”
EasyJet did not reveal the value of the new aircraft order but is known to have negotiated “substantial concessions” on the manufacturer’s list price of $73 million per plane, as well as preferential terms from the chosen engine manufacturer.
The company said that the announcement “will ensure that EasyJet is able to continue to execute its strategy of carefully targeted growth and take advantage of opportunities for profitable market share gain”.
“EasyJet benefits from flexibility in its fleet planning arrangements and through a combination of the new aircraft order, deferrals and lease extensions means that its growth rate in terms of seats flown can be flexible and dependant on the opportunities available and economic conditions,” it added.