British no-frills carrier EasyJet on Thursday said it has reached a deal worth close to $20 billion for 157 Airbus planes and alterations to a previous order. It will allow “fleet modernisation and growth to continue beyond 2028 while providing substantial benefits including cost efficiencies and sustainability improvements”, EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said in a statement, adding there was an option for 100 more jets. Delivery for the 157 firm orders is due between 2029 and 2034. The announcement comes as the aviation sector is in recovery mode after suffering huge losses during Covid pandemic lockdowns. EasyJet on Thursday said it would reinstate shareholder dividends after signalling record pre-tax profits in the final quarter of its financial year, or three months to the end of September. “We have delivered a record summer with strong demand for EasyJet’s flights and holidays with customers choosing us for our network, value and service,” said the carrier that flies mostly across Europe. EasyJet is based in Luton, north of London, whose airport suffered a major carpark fire late Tuesday, causing the cancellation of flights. The airline on Thursday said it had “entered into conditional arrangements” with European planemaker Airbus for 157 aircraft — 56 A320neo and 101 A321neo. It has agreed also “to exercise conversion rights within its current order book to convert 35 A320neo deliveries into A321neo aircraft. Together the deal was worth $19.9 billion and “will deliver lower fuel burn, CO2 emissions and operating costs per seat”, EasyJet said.