MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s biggest airline IndiGo said on Monday it has placed a $20 billion (16 billion pounds) jet engine order from CFM International, a move that marks a dramatic shift away from Pratt & Whitney towards its French-American rival.
CFM, owned by General Electric and France’s Safran, will provide the 1LEAP-1A engines to power 280 A320neo and A321neo jetliners already on order from Airbus by the Delhi-based budget carrier.
IndiGo has an order book of 430 Airbus planes of the A320neo family, of which the first 150 aircraft were to be powered by engines from United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney.
Reuters reported earlier in June that IndiGo might drop Pratt engines in favour of CFM’s and that the deal would be for more than 600 engines, including spares.
Although the Pratt engines fitted on the A320neo aircraft are fuel-efficient there have consistently been issues with them since they entered into service in 2016, forcing IndiGo to ground its planes several times.
“The CFMLEAP engine will allow IndiGo to maintain its strong focus on lowering operating costs and delivering fuel efficiency with high standards of reliability,” Riyaz Peermohamed, Chief Aircraft Acquisition and Financing Officer at IndiGo, said in the statement.
The delivery of the first LEAP-1A-powered A320neo is scheduled in 2020, IndiGo said in the statement, adding that the contract with CFM includes spare engines and an overhaul support agreement as well as a long-term service agreement.
(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee and Aditi Shah, editing by Deepa Babington)