LONDON– Irish aircraft leasing firm, SMBC Aviation Capital, has placed an order for 65 A320neo Family aircraft in an effort to expand its takings across its varied portfolio.

The deal, as a breakdown, will see 50 A320neos and 15 A321neos delivered to the firm. It was finalized in 2018.

Peter Barrett, CEO of SMBC Aviation Capital was significantly enthused about expanding the orderbook.

“Demand for the latest technology aircraft has been strong both from our existing and new customers hence our decision today to proceed with this order. In the current environment, airlines are seeking more fuel efficient aircraft,” he said.

Barrett added that the make-up of the order “positions us very well for the future to deliver on those needs. We have a strong relationship with Airbus and we look forward to working with them to continue to deliver for our customers long into the future,” he said.

The 65 aircraft ordered this week joins the six units that were ordered in 2018, bringing the total count for the year as 71.

However, as a general figure, SMBC will be waiting for 181 A320neo Family aircraft it has ordered over the next few years.

Christian Scherer, Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer, also commented on the deal, assessing the relationship the manufacturer has with SMBC.

“As one of the world’s leading aircraft lessors, SMBC Aviation Capital’s repeat order demonstrates its financial astuteness in making wise investments in the A320neo Family. In 2018, the direct leasing market represented over 30 %of our 800 worldwide deliveries – as much as Europe and the Americas combined,” he said.

This order is adding to the strong wave of announcements Airbus has been making in 2019—the first of which was the Moxy and JetBlue firm orders for 60 A220-300s each, as well as Delta adding 15 more A220s to the 75 planes it had booked before.