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UPDATE 1-Mexico's Volaris signs $4.9 bln engine deal with Pratt & Whitney

(Updates with details)

MEXICO CITY, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Pratt & Whitney’s agreement with Volaris to provide the Mexican airline with engines and their maintenance for 80 new Airbus A320neo aircraft is worth around $4.9 billion, Volaris Chief Executive Officer Enrique Beltranena said on Thursday.

After factoring in the time the company had the aircraft, the deal with Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp, would run through until at least 2040, Beltranena said in an interview with Reuters.

“Together with this maintenance agreement, it’s somewhere around 4.9 billion dollars,” Beltranena said.

Volaris will take delivery of the A320neo planes from 2023-2027, a purchase it first announced in late 2017, he noted.

Low cost airline Volaris has fared better than Mexican competitors during the coronavirus pandemic, expanding its market share inside Latin America’s second-biggest economy.

Beltranena said that restrictions on activity due to the pandemic had made for a “much more complicated” start to 2021 than the company had anticipated. But he was upbeat about the prospects for business during the Easter holidays.

The carrier reported January passenger traffic was at 97% capacity of the same month in 2020, and Beltranena said that figure could dip in February to “80-something” percent.

Bookings for Mexico’s Semana Santa, or Holy Week, during the turn of March-April looked “very strong” and reservations for the summer were also healthy, the CEO said.

The airline should be profitable in June and during the third quarter as a whole, Beltranena said.

Speaking alongside the Volaris CEO, Rick Deurloo, Chief Commercial Officer of Pratt & Whitney, said the company expected demand for narrow body aircraft like the A320 to recover to pre-pandemic levels “in the 2023 timeframe.”

“We do see a lot of pent-up demand,” he said. (Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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