Indian airline becomes first buyer for new green plane

An Indian low-cost airline has become the first buyer for Airbus' new fuel efficient "A320neo" jet, showcasing the scale of India's aviation growth by placing the largest single order in commercial aviation history.

IndiGo, a low-cost carrier that flies Indian domestic routes, placed an order for some 150 of the new aircraft, an enormous expansion of its current 34-strong fleet.

It also ordered a further 30 standard Airbus A320 aircraft, which on top of existing orders will push the carrier's size to a whopping 241 aircraft.

The A320neo was unveiled by Airbus in 2010 as a more environmentally-friendly version of its best-selling A320 aircraft, which is in service with 310 airlines around the world.

With more efficient engines and new wingtip devices called "sharklets," which alter the airflow at the end of the wing to reduce the aircraft's drag, it's estimated that the A320neo offers fuel savings of up to 15 percent, making it greener and cheaper to fly.

Airbus claims that the savings represent up to 3,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually on a single aircraft, as well as a double digit reduction in NOx emissions.

IndiGo's order underlines the scale of the growth expected in India's aviation market, in no small part thanks to the success of low-cost carriers ouch as SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo.

According to the Centre for Asia Pacific aviation, India's domestic traffic growth averaged above 19 percent in the 11 months to November 2010, with 4.9 million passengers taking to the skies in November alone.

http://www.goindigo.in

http://www.capa.org

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