Iberia Returns Aircraft and United Makes a Supersonic Bet
- Lufthansa Cargo ordered its 14th Boeing 777F, bringing its total cargo fleet up to 15 aircraft by the end fo the year. The new freighter will join Lufthansa’s fleet before the end of the year, the German carrier said. “The corona crisis has impressively underlined how important these aircraft are for global supply,” said Dorothea von Boxberg, Lufthansa Cargo CEO.
- Elsewhere in Europe, meanwhile, Iberia is responding to growing passenger demand by converting three Airbus A330s back to passenger operations. The airline had converted the aircraft into temporary freighters at the end of last year, Iberia Maintenance said, but will be restored to passenger configuration in the coming weeks in anticipation of rising passenger demand. The aircraft will be restored to the cabin layouts they had before the pandemic. In addition, Iberia Maintenance said it is pulling 29 Airbus A320-family jets out of mothballs to return to active service, 23 for Iberia and six for Iberia Express.
- Aeromexico took delivery of the first Boeing 737 Max under its restructured orderbook last week. The 737-9 is one of eight aircraft the Mexican carrier will lease from Air Lease Corp., plus 20 Maxes directly from Boeing. A U.S. bankruptcy court approved the revised fleet plan at the end of April.
- United made a bang in the fleet world by announcing an order for up to 50 of Boom Supersonic’s Overture aircraft. The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, consists of 15 firm orders and 35 options. United says it would deploy the supersonic aircraft on transatlantic and trans-Pacific routes. The aircraft is expected to operate at up to Mach 1.7, potentially cutting flight times between Newark and London to three-and-a-half hours, United said.
The carrier expects the aircraft to be developed by 2025, take its first flight in 2026, and join United’s fleet by 2029, an ambitious timeline given that Boom’s propulsion unit has yet to be finalized. When asked, United CEO Scott Kirby did not disclose further details of the deal or of how big a bet the carrier is making on the Overture aircraft, but stressed it was part of United’s attempts to invest in innovative technologies, similar to its recent investment in Archer’s eVTOL aircraft.