TOKYO: Japanese low-cost carrier Peach Aviation said Friday it would buy 13 Airbus aircraft valued at almost $1.4 billion as part of its expansion plans to cash in on a pick-up in demand for air travel in the country.
Peach, an affiliate of major Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA), agreed to buy 10 fuel-efficient A320neos and three conventional A320ceos, it said in a statement.
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The new aircraft are to be used for Peach's "business expansion" it said. The airline flies both domestic and international routes, including to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul.
"This will be the first time for a Japanese (low-cost carrier) to order A320neo aircraft," Peach said, stressing the jet's "superb environmental features".
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Chief Executive Officer Shinichi Inoue said at a Tokyo briefing that the carrier plans to expand its fleet to at least 35 planes by 2020 and to 100 later. It currently has 18 Airbus A320s.
Inoue added that it is also looking at setting up a base at Sendai airport next year and at Sapporo's Shin-Chitose in 2018.
The A320neo has a list price of $107.3 million and the A320ceo $98 million.
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The announcement comes after European aviation giant Airbus last month reported a five percent fall in January-September net profit and said it intends to deliver more planes than initially forecast this year.
The plane-maker is improving its position in the Japanese market, which has seen a quasi-monopoly by American rival Boeing with the two biggest carriers -- Japan Airlines and ANA -- having a privileged relationship with the US manufacturer.
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