Porter Pivot to E-Jets?
- SMBC Aviation is the latest to add 737 Max commitments since the jet was recertified late last year. The lessor has ordered 14 737-8s bringing its total “portfolio” — a combo of orders and sale-and-leaseback deals — of the Max to 121 aircraft. SMBC’s Max operators include Southwest Airlines, TUI and United Airlines. Earlier in May, Alaska Airlines exercised 13 737-9 options several months after selecting the Max for its Airbus fleet replacement. And Ryanair, Southwest and United have all upped their Max commitments since December.
- American Airlines is still weighing how to use 25 Boeing 787-9s it will take delivery of from 2023-25. Last week, Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said the aircraft could be used to replace older Boeing 777-200s if long-haul demand has not recovered or be for growth if demand is back. American retired its Airbus A330, and Boeing 757 and 767 fleets in 2020, leaving its long-haul fleet 75 aircraft smaller than it was at the end of 2019. Previously, executives have said American will focus on only profitable flying as long-haul travel returns, and not return to markets considered strategic, or that lose money.
- More Maxes for Southwest? Last week, CEO Gary Kelly told the Dallas Morning News that the airline does not have enough aircraft to operate its full pre-crisis schedule — though ASMs are forecast to recover to 2019 levels in the third quarter — as a result of its 17-city expansion during the pandemic. Kelly suggested that Southwest may need “hundreds” of additional aircraft, which would be 737 Maxes given the carrier’s decision to maintain its all-737 fleet in March.
- Canadian regional Porter Airlines may be the buyer behind an order for 30 Embraer E195-E2s from an undisclosed customer, reports AirFinance Journal. The carrier denied the report and others. Porter flies an all-de Havilland Dash 8-400 fleet and, briefly, planned to acquire Airbus A220s until plans to extend the runway at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport were blocked.
- CDB Aviation has placed two Airbus A330 freighter conversions with Mexico’s MasAir, marking the first of the type for the lessor. The aircraft will join MasAir’s fleet in the first half of next year. The carrier already operates two A330Fs in addition to a fleet of Boeing 767Fs, MasAir said.
- Airbus putting its suppliers on notice that it intends to increase production rates of almost all its aircraft families (except the A330, which will hold at two aircraft per month). Production rates for the A220, currently five per month, will rise to six per month by 2022 and could rise to 14 per month by the middle of the decade. The A350 family will go from five per month now to six by next fall. The A320-family will see torrid growth in production rates. By the end of the year, Airbus expects to build 45 of the aircraft per month, rising to 64 per month in the second quarter 2023. The airframer has told suppliers that it could raise this to 70 per month in 2024 and is exploring ways to bring it to 75 per month in 2025. “The message to our supplier community provides visibility to the entire industrial ecosystem to secure the necessary capabilities and be ready when market conditions call for it,” Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said.
- Aeroflot took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo, the first of four the Russian carrier has on order. The remaining three — two A320neos and one A321neo — will join the fleet this month.
— Edward Russell & Madhu Unnikrishnan