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easyJet firms up 15 A320 options, switches 20 A319s to A320s

easyJet has reached agreement with Airbus to exercise options over 15 Airbus A320s for delivery between 2012 and 2014, to secure new options over a further 33 A320 aircraft, and to convert 20 of the A319 aircraft already on order into orders for A320s.

The airline says this will ensure that it 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.

easyJet’s fleet plan over the period to 30 September 2013 now foresees growth from the 196 aircraft (including those in GB Airways) in service at 30 September 2010 to 204 at 30 September 2011, 213 at 30 September 2012 and finally 220 at 30 September 2013, by which time the whole fleet will be Airbuses.

easyJet has the right to exercise the additional 33 options up to March 2013. Meanwhile, the additional aircraft will be financed through a combination of cash, operating leases and debt.

Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive, commented, “We are pleased to announce this agreement with Airbus. It will help deliver easyJet’s strategy of continued profitable growth towards our target of 12% ROCE through the cycle, whilst providing even more flight capacity for our passengers. A central feature of the agreement is the flexibility it gives easyJet to vary the growth rate in its capacity to reflect economic conditions and market opportunities."

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