Wizz Air has signed a deal to purchase up to 196 A321 neo and A321 XLR aircraft, as part of growth plans to become “a 500 aircraft group”.

The order was unveiled at the Dubai Airshow, and includes a firm order for 102 A321 aircraft, comprising 75 A321 neos and 27 A321 XLRs. The bulk of these aircraft are set to be delivered between 2025 and 2027.

The carrier added that it may acquire a further 19 A321 neos “under certain circumstances”, while purchase rights have also been granted for 75 A321 neos, to be converted into a firm order by the end of 2022.

Airbus said that Indigo Partners – Wizz Air’s largest shareholder – had signed a joint agreement on behalf of its portfolio of airlines including Wizz, Frontier, Volaris and Jetsmart, for a total of 255 A320 neo Family aircraft.

Wizz Air’s fleet currently consists of around 140 Airbus aircraft, and the new orders and purchase rights bring the carrier’s delivery backlog to 429 planes.

The group took delivery of its first A320 neo in June last year.

The big picture: Wizz Air takes delivery of first A320 neo

Commenting on the news Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air’s CEO, said:

“After two years in service, Wizz Air’s Airbus A321neo continues to provide market leading aircraft technology and choice – there is simply no other aircraft that can compete with it. With its next-generation engines, it has proven to be the game-changer that we said it would be when we placed our first order back in 2015.

“But most importantly, these are by far the most fuel and cost efficient aircraft in their class – supporting us in maintaining our position as the most sustainable airline in Europe and reaching our sustainability goals of reducing CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre by 25 per cent by 2030.

“It is important to note that if all European airlines switched to a modern Airbus A320/1 fleet like Wizz Air and operated them as efficiently as Wizz Air, the whole industry’s CO2 emissions would reduce by 34 per cent overnight.

“Wizz Air is an ambitious airline with a strategy that seeks to grow the company and will continue to stimulate demand for air travel in Europe and beyond by offering the lowest fares and CO2 footprint to our customers, while still delivering a great customer experience on-board one of the youngest fleets in Europe.

“Our current average aircraft age stands at 5.1 years, well below the industry average (around 10 years), but with this new order we will see this drop to 3.6 years by 2024, and even further to 3.2 years by 2026.

“Despite strong demand for the aircraft, we have signed very attractive terms with Airbus for the long-term supply of more aircraft until the end of the decade, catapulting Wizz Air towards our aim of being a 500 aircraft group and putting us in an unassailable position when it comes to sustainability.”