MIAMI – Indian LCC IndiGo (6E) has chosen the CFM LEAP-1A engines to equip its 310 new Airbus A320s, pitting Pratt & Whitney out of the competition.

According to a Bloomberg report, 6E selected CFM to power up its aircraft “without specifying the size of the deal,” although a CFM spokesperson told the news outlet that “it’s the largest single order for the company in terms of the number of engines, but declined to put a price tag.”

India has been the fastest growing aviation market before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that event started to hamper the demand, especially for international travel.

IndiGo VT-IVZ Airbus A320-271N. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

IndiGo Deal Seen As a ‘Surprise’

The aviation industry sees the massive deal as a surprise, considering the current health-related events that still affect the sector. The deal includes 620 new mounted engines and related spares, as well as a multi-year service contract. Engines for the A320neo family of aircraft will be delivered starting in 2023, the report said.

This deal was a major defeat for Pratt & Whitney, which, per the report, “after spending $10 billion to develop a new engine for narrowbody jets, it’s faced delivery delays and multiple issues leading to midair shutdowns.”

IndiGo chief aircraft acquisition and financing officer Riyaz Peermohamed praised the move and cited the lower costs the new engines would provide.

“We are pleased to extend our partnership with CFM for our next batch of Airbus A320neo, A321neo and A321 XLR aircraft. The introduction of the CFM LEAP engines in our fleet will allow us to maintain our strong focus on lowering operating costs and delivering fuel efficiency,” Peermohamed said.

6E has cash reserves of US$2.5bn, even though its debt is at US$3.8bn. The airline is also planning on selling shares, in an attempt to raise 30bn rupees (US$409m) to cope with the infection spikes in its home country.

Featured image: Indigo VT-ITJ. Airbus A320-271N. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways