Frontier Airlines Becomes the First US Customer for New Airbus A321XLR
The star of this week's Paris Air Show, the newly announced Airbus A321XLR, has landed another big order. This time, it's with Indigo Partners — the private equity firm that owns part of Frontier, Wizz Air, JetSMART, Volaris, among others — which signed up for 50 of the narrow-body, long-range aircraft.
The Indigo Partners order will see 20 of the A321XLRs go to Wizz Air, 18 to Frontier and 12 to JetSMART. With the Frontier portion of the order, Airbus gets its first commitment for a US carrier to operate its newest jet.
The Indigo Group already has almost 300 Airbus aircraft in its fleet and this new order, combined with other orders, will grow the combined fleet to well over 600 aircraft. Wednesday's Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus is comprised of 32 new orders for the A321XLR, as well as 18 converted A321neo orders.
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The extended range of about 5,400 miles and fuel efficiency of the aircraft opens up new route opportunities for these airlines. While Indigo's family of airlines focus on the ultra-low-cost market on a short-haul basis, these aircraft could mean very affordable transatlantic flights in the future. According to CNBC, Frontier is also considering launching flights to Hawaii and Alaska with this aircraft.
“Today’s announcement marks another milestone in Frontier’s tremendous growth story,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said in a statement. “The A321XLR will enable Frontier to offer coast to coast service and explore exciting international and domestic opportunities, such as Hawaii, while continuing to deliver ‘Low Fares Done Right’ to our customers.”
The fast-growing Wizz Air is moving beyond its traditional bases in Eastern Europe to launch new bases in routes in Western Europe.
Indigo has confirmed Volaris will not receive any frames because the high altitude of its hub cities in Mexico cannot maximize the performance of the aircraft.