American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL)
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By Robert Wall
LE BOURGET, France--American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) has agreed to buy 50 of Airbus SE's (AIR.FR) A321XLR jetliners, bolstering the European plane maker's order haul for the model it launched just two days ago.
American will convert 30 existing orders for other Airbus single-aisle planes to the new A321XLR and purchase 20 on top of that, the Toulouse, France-based manufacturer said Wednesday.
Airbus on Wednesday also won deals from Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN.AU) for 36 of the planes and from airline investor Indigo Partners, which is buying 50 for use by budget carrier Frontier Airlines, Europe's Wizz Air Holdings PLC (WIZZ.LN) and JetSmart in Chile.
Airbus is designing the A321XLR in part to enable airlines to fly trans-Atlantic routes with a single-aisle plane rather than having to operate a more expensive widebody. The aircraft will have a range of 4,700 nautical miles and be ready in 2023.
British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG.LN) this week ordered the plane for Aer Lingus and Spanish unit Iberia to fly to the U.S.
The orders come as new entrants are pushing into the trans-Atlantic market with new planes. JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) this year laid out plans to fly from the East Coast to London, while Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (NAS.OS) has augmented its budget long-haul service using Boeing Co. (BA) 787 Dreamliners with trans-Atlantic flights using the U.S. manufacturer's 737 narrowbody.
Frontier Airlines Chief Executive Barry Biffle said the U.S. discount airline would consider trans-Atlantic service.
Frontier will get 18 of the A321XLR, he said, but sees room for 100 to 150 in its long-term fleet plan. It hasn't yet decided on which routes to fly the plane, Mr. Biffle said, adding that "we will fly them where we can make the most money."
The plane will allow Frontier to fly with full passenger load coast-to-coast and reach Hawaii, he said. The A321XLR can seat 240 people, and Mr. Biffle said Frontier would operate at or close to that number.
Meanwhile, Airbus also said that Taiwan's China Airlines Ltd. (2610.TW) would buy 11 A321neo aircraft.
China Airlines will also buy up to six of Boeing's 777 cargo planes, the U.S. manufacturer said. Boeing also secured a deal with Qatar Airways for five additional 777 freighters.
Write to Robert Wall at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 19, 2019 10:10 ET (14:10 GMT)
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