Spirit Airlines commits to buying up to 150 Airbus A320neo family jets
Spirit Airlines has ended months of speculation with a commitment for up to 150 Airbus A320neo family aircraft.
The memorandum of understanding includes an order for 100 A319neo, A320neo and A321neo models, and purchase options for another 50 aircraft, the Florida-based ultra-low-cost-carrier said after markets closed on Wednesday.
The commitment is the end to a more than a year-long search by Spirit for its next aircraft. The all-A320 family operator considered a range of aircraft, including the Airbus A220, Boeing 737 MAX and Embraer E-Jet E2 families, but ultimately opted to maintain its single-family fleet with more Airbus narrowbodies.
Related: Spirit Airlines adds 3 new routes to Cancun
"The additional aircraft will be used to support Spirit’s growth as we add new destinations and expand our network across the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean," said Ted Christie, CEO of Spirit, in a statement.
Spirit is in the midst of a growth spurt. It added Nashville (BNA) to its network earlier this month, and continues to connect the dots on its map with new routes coming to Austin (AUS), Cancun (CUN), Nashville and San Juan (SJU) in 2020.
The airline is also making a number of customer-focused investments. These include everything from better operational performance, to the new seats that it unveiled in September and the pending new loyalty program.
Related: Spirit Airlines unveils new seats that it says will make for happier passengers
Spirit's current orderbook includes 48 A320neos with deliveries through 2021, its latest fleet plan shows. The new commitment will extend that delivery horizon to 2027.
Notably, the new long-range A321XLR that could make nonstop flights to the major cities of South America from Florida, or Hawaii from points in the U.S. Midwest possible, is not part of Spirit's commitment, according to the airline and Airbus' separate statements.
Spirit will present its third quarter earnings on Thursday, and is expected to provide more detail on the aircraft order.