Airbus backlog reveals conversions to A320neo

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Two customers for the baseline Airbus A320 family appear to have converted their orders to the A320neo, despite previous insistence from the airframer that such swaps would not be entertained.

The airframer had 2,392 orders for the A320neo at the end of September, and added 60 more from VivaAerobus and JetBlue Airways during October – giving a theoretical total of 2,452.

But Airbus confirms that another 35 aircraft have been added to the backlog for the re-engined type, and confirms the total as 2,487.

Analysis of backlog data indicates that 30 A320s have been converted to A320neos by IndiGo, which placed a landmark order for 150 A320neo and 30 A320 jets in 2011.

The remaining change arises from a conversion of five Spirit Airlines A321s to A321neos. Spirit ordered 20 A321s in June this year.

After the launch of the A320neo, Airbus had stood firmly against allowing customers to convert from the baseline aircraft to the re-engined version.

The airframer explains that the 35 aircraft involved in the switch are “part of a new contract”.

Airbus recorded orders for 153 aircraft during October, among them the 31 A350s for Japan Airlines, a dozen A350s and A330s for Scandinavian Airlines, and a batch of 16 A330s for Chinese carriers.

As well as the VivaAerobus and JetBlue deals the airframer recorded orders for six A320s from UK operator EasyJet.

Airbus’s order total for the first 10 months of 2013 reached 1,215 aircraft. It delivered 59 during October, including four A380s.