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Monday, 26 October 2020

Airbus Updates No.2887


American Airlines retires Airbus A330-200s

American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) has decided to permanently retire all of its remaining A330-200s, the last of its widebody Airbus aircraft.

"As we have spoken about in the past, our long-held strategy has been to drive efficiencies through the simplification of our fleet. With the permanent retirement of our A330-200 fleet announced this morning, we now have only four aircraft types [families] in our mainline fleet: the B737, the A320, the B787, and the B777," Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said during an earnings call.

Before the announcement, American Airlines had fifteen A330-200s in its fleet. The aircraft are 8.9 years old on average and are all owned by the airline. They were all retired from active service between mid-February and April 4, 2020, and have since been stored at Roswell airport. According to Flightradar24 ADS-B data, American's last A330-200 revenue flight was AA1869 from Philadelphia Int'l to Charlotte Int'l, operated on April 4, 2020, with N280AY (msn 1022).

American Airlines recorded a USD709 million non-cash write-down during the third quarter of 2020 as a result of the A330-200s' retirement.

The carrier has previously announced the retirement of all of its B757, B767, E190A330-300, and CRJ200 aircraft, amounting to more than 150 units phased-out during 2020. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the carrier's remaining mainline fleet comprises 133 A319-100s, forty-eight A320-200s, 218 A321-200s, twenty-three A321-200NXs, 304 B737-800s, forty-seven B777-200(ER)s, twenty B777-300(ER)s, twenty-three B787-8s, and twenty-two B787-9s.

American Airlines also has twenty-four grounded B737-8s and a further 76 of the type on order from Boeing. It said that the deliveries of the forthcoming units could be deferred.

"We have reached an agreement with Boeing to secure deferral rights on eight of our 2021 MAX deliveries and all 10 of our MAX deliveries in 2022. If the deferral rates are ultimately exercised, these aircraft can be deferred to the second half of 2023 through the first quarter of 2024. To avoid exercising these deferral rates, we would need to see substantial improvement in the demand environment," Kerr said.

The airline still has ten B737 MAX 8s scheduled to deliver in 2021, excluding those subject to potential deferrals.

"We retain inexpensive optionality in our total fleet count as we have 51 aircraft with lease expirations through the end of 2022. In addition, we have more than 200 older owned mainline and regional aircraft that could be efficiently part should demand conditions deteriorate," Kerr added.

American Airlines also said that it had amended its loan agreement with the US Treasury, potentially increasing the amount of borrowing available to it from USD5.5 billion to USD7.5 billion. It underlined that so far, it has only drawn USD550 million under the facility.

Airbus Updates No.2886


Delta Air Lines takes delivery of maiden A220-300

Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) took delivery of its first A220-300, N302DU (msn 55070), on October 22, 2020, and plans to commence scheduled flights with the type on November 16, 2020.

The aircraft is also the first A220 built at Airbus Canada's plant at Mobile Downtown airport, from where it was ferried directly to Delta's main base at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson. The Mobile A220 Final Assembly Line was launched in August 2019.

According to the ch-aviation schedules, Delta Air Lines will initially base its first A220-300 out of Salt Lake City with its first scheduled service, set for November 16, to be to Houston Intc'l. Subsequently, the carrier will also use the type to connect Salt Lake City with Austin Bergstrom Int'lSacramento Int'l (both from November 25), and San José, CA (single flight on November 27).

Delta Air Lines is the world's largest customer of the A220 Family aircraft. It has so far taken deliveries of thirty-one A220-100s and has an additional 14 of the type on firm order. Its order book for the -300s totals 50, including the one recently delivered.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Airbus Updates No.2885


Qatar Airways Takes Delivery Of Three Airbus A350s Via The UK

On Thursday evening, three brand-new Airbus A350-1000s made their way from Airbus in Toulouse to Qatar Airways. A rare occurrence in 2020, the long-haul aircraft delivery took a detour through UK skies before heading to join its stablemates in Doha.

Qatar takes delivery of three A350s
Qatar Airways has taken delivery of three new A350-1000s. Photo: Qatar Airways

With all the unavoidable delivery deferrals and order cancellations of late, it is nice to report on new aircraft joining airline fleets. On Thursday, Qatar Airways announced that it had taken delivery of three new Airbus A350-1000 widebody jets. However, the aircraft did not fly straight from the manufacturer’s facilities in Toulouse, France. Instead, they took a little detour across the English Channel before turning east just south of London and then towards Doha in Qatar.

An administrative detour

The three planes are the first widebody aircraft to enter Qatar’s fleet since the beginning of the crisis. They are registered as A7-ANO, A7-ANQ, and A7-ANR. According to, Qatar is leasing the planes from an undisclosed lessor. For all financial matters to be in order, the aircraft needed to spend some time in British airspace. All paperwork and the token administrative run completed, they could continue on to their new home at Hamad International Airport.

One-hour intervals between flights

Flight QR3350, QR3351, and QR3358 took off from Toulouse on Thursday with scheduled one-hour intervals, starting at 16:00. They then followed more or less the exact same flight path. Their total flight time from Toulouse to Doha, including the UK airspace pitstop, differed by only a couple of minutes, from 6 hours 55 minutes to 6 hours 58 minutes.

The greener Gulf option?

With the latest delivery announcement, Qatar Airways is keen to position itself as the environmentally-conscious choice, particularly among the Gulf carriers.

“As one of the only airlines to continue taking delivery of new aircraft at this time, our strategic investment in modern, fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft has enabled us to continue flying,” Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement seen by Simple Flying.

“Environmentally conscious passengers can travel with the reassurance that Qatar Airways continuously monitors the market to assess both passenger and cargo demand to ensure it operates the most efficient aircraft on each route,” he continued.

Furthermore, Mr Al Baker reiterated that Qatar is keeping its A380s grounded as they are not “environmentally justifiable” to operate in the current situation.

Beyond a slightly lighter environmental conscience, passengers traveling with the new A350-1000s can enjoy the widest seats of any aircraft in its category for all cabin classes. The planes also feature Qatar’s much-lauded QSuite for business class passengers, which retained the Skytrax Best Business Seat award for 2019.

A total of 42, but by when?

Qatar took delivery of the world’s first A350-1000 in February 2018. With yesterday’s delivery, Qatar Airways now has 18 A350-1000s in its fleet. It has an order for a total of 42. In September, the airline said that it had reached an agreement with Airbus to defer the long-haul jets’ deliveries, along with the 50 A321neos the carrier is expecting.

Airbus Updates No.2884


Airbus Is Preparing To Increase A320 Production Next Year

Airbus has informed suppliers to prepare for a ramp-up in A320 production next year, with the company set to increase its production rate from 40 to 47 jets a month. Airbus has told its supply-chain partners to be ready by July 2021 as it anticipates a strong recovery for the industry.

Airbus Factory staff layoffs
Airbus will increase production of A320’s from 40 to 47, starting from July 2021 at the earliest. Photo: Getty Images

Despite the major slump in demand from airlines laboring under the current economic climate, Airbus will boost production of its A320-family aircraft by 18%. The latest move is a sign of encouragement for an industry that has had little to celebrate this year.

The latest from Airbus

According to Reuters, Airbus has asked suppliers to prepare for a conditional 18% boost in production. This would take production from its current rate of 40 planes a month up to 47. While no firm decision has been made on scheduling, the company has penciled in a July 2021 date. A spokesman for Airbus stated,

Airbus was already planning to ramp-up A320 production before the coronavirus pandemic, with a backlog of orders stretching into 2025. However, the planemaker was forced to slash its production rate of A320’s by a third in April as it responded to the coronavirus crisis. The latest news is a move towards re-establishing its pre-COVID rates of production, which for the A320 stood at 60 planes per month.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.

A challenge for suppliers

Ramping up production of such sophisticated aircraft in the present economy will be a challenge for Airbus and its many supply-chain partners.

The A320 manufacturing process involves four facilities in Germany, France, China, and the United States, with parts moving between facilities. In a Financial Times article, one supplier noted the inherent difficulty for supply partners,

“If the rate were to be increased it would be difficult to take it down again. Suppliers were stretched for cash and working capital due to the impact of the virus and asking them to invest more could not be done lightly.”

Suppliers may struggle to meet demand in testing economic times. Photo: DearEdward via Wikimedia

Suppliers could end up shouldering a lot of the risk should a recovery not materialize. Airbus is shooting for a July 2021 date under current plans but has not set anything in stone. The same supply partner commented,

“They want to be able to do this and want suppliers to put working capital in without giving them guaranteed orders. There will be no economic cost to them, if it goes wrong.”

Reasons for optimism

Just a few months ago, Airbus looked to be in hot water, with several airlines canceling aircraft orders and demand grinding to a halt. Between April and June, the manufacturer received just eight orders for new commercial aircraft.

However, in September, the planemaker delivered 57 planes, the most this year, and recently celebrated delivering its 10,000th A320-family plane. While the company still plans to cut up to 15,000 staff to trim costs, the latest announcement shows there is still room for optimism.

Airbus Updates No.2883


Turkish Airlines Takes Delivery Of Its First Airbus A350-900

After months of delays, Turkish Airlines has finally taken delivery of its first A350-900 from Airbus. The aircraft, registered TC-LGA, touched down in Istanbul at around 02:30 this morning. It’s the first of up to 30 A350s expected to arrive at the carrier and will be deployed on high traffic routes such as London and Dubai.

Turkish Airlines A350 delivery
The A350 has arrived. Photo: Turkish Airlines

The A350 has arrived in Istanbul

Turkish Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900. Despite conflicting reports earlier in the week about when this was going to happen, Simple Flying can confirm that TC-LGA has definitely arrived with the airline in Istanbul.

The brand new A350 took off from Toulouse at around 22:30 last night. Flying for just under three hours, it crossed the south of Italy, skirted Northern Greece, and finally arrived in Istanbul at 02:24 this morning.

This marked the eighth fight of TC-LGA, having taken several flights under the control of Airbus as part of the manufacturing process. In fact, TC-LGA took its very first flight on March 13th this year, so the delivery has been quite some time coming.

According to AIB Family, the first customer acceptance flight took place on June 11th. After that, it was sent off to Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport (LDE), where it was stored for two and a half months. After returning to Toulouse on August 25th, a couple of further flights took place, including a second customer flight on October 12th.

It’s likely that Turkish put the brakes on delivery earlier in the year due to fallout from COVID.  But now, with services ramping up and Turkish serving more than 200 destinations, the time is right to welcome this wonderful aircraft into the Turkish fleet.

Sadly, the arrival was with little fanfare, not just because it was the wee small hours of the morning. Due to COVID restrictions, the airline decided not to hold any ceremony in either Toulouse or Istanbul. Nevertheless, staff were reportedly excited to meet their new widebody Airbus.

Where will it fly?

Turkish Airlines has made no secret of the routes on which it plans to operate its A350s. The first two A350s will be deployed on two of the most lucrative routes in the Turkish network – London and Dubai. As major aviation hubs, this is a great way to connect customers to Istanbul from all over the world with this flagship aircraft.

Next to launch will be Los Angeles, another key route for the airline. And finally, the fourth route already announced will be from Istanbul to Seoul, South Korea.

However, it should be noted that all these route announcements were made long before COVID, so there could be some changes to these plans. Also, the dates for route launches have long passed by, so it’s not entirely clear when we’ll see services beginning.

In total, Turkish Airlines has 25 Airbus A350s on order, with options for five more. This means we’re likely to see them deployed into all the many markets Turkish serves around the world as more join the fleet.

Airbus Updates No.2882


 Airbus A350 -1041 368  A7-ANO Qatar Airways delivery 22oct20 TLS-DOH (+ 382 A7-ANQ ex F-WZHF, + 399 A7-ANR ex F-WZGX) ex F-WWDW
 Airbus A350 -941 403  TC-LGA Turkish Airlines delivery 22oct20 TLS-IST (+ 421 TC-LGB 23oct20 ex F-WZGD) ex F-WZGN
 Airbus A350 -941 445  9V-SHR Singapore Airlines delivery 20oct20 TLS-SIN (+ 447 9V-SHS ex F-WZGW) ex F-WZFI
 Airbus Canada A220 -171 50051  N132DU Delta Air Lines delivery 22oct20 YMX-MSP (+ 50052 N133DU 23oct20 ex C-FOVP) ex C-FOVK
 Airbus Canada A220 -171 50057  N138DU Delta Air Lines delivery 24oct20 YMX-MSP ex C-FOWY
 Airbus Canada A220 -371 55070  N302DU Delta Air Lines delivery 22oct20 BFM-ATL (+ 55075 N303DU 23oct20 ex C-GPNB) ex C-GPCA

Airbus Updates No.2881


Airbus A320 -251N 10096  TC-NCO Pegasus Airlines delivery 20oct20 TLS-SAW "Sevval"(+ 10166 TC-NCS "Zehra" ex F-WWBD) ex F-WWIO
 Airbus A320 -251N 10196  F-WHUE Airbus ferried 22oct20 TLS-BSL for ACJ config ex F-WWDS
 Airbus A321 -231 1356  OE-IAI Avolon onward ferry 20-21oct20 HNL-SJC-HDO ex HL7594
 Airbus A321 -211 1713  CS-TJG TAP Air Portugal ferried 22oct20 LIS-LDE on return to lessor ex D-AVZS
 Airbus A321 -211 6515  OE-IRO Boltwhistle Limited regd 19oct20 at YRQ, for Jet2 ex C-GTZX
 Airbus A321 -271NX 9236  VT-IUU IndiGo Airlines delivery 20oct20 XFW-DEL ex D-AYAZ
 Airbus A321 -271NXLR 10056  XA-VBH VivaAerobus delivery 24oct20 XFW-KEF-BGR-MTY ex D-AZAS
 Airbus A321 -252NX 10077  B-58204 Starlux Airlines delivery 20-21oct20 XFW-DWC-TPE ex D-AYAG
 Airbus A330 -323 425  OK-YBA CSA Czech Airlines ferried 22oct20 PRG-ICN after lease ex HL7701
 Airbus A330 -202 571  A7-ACP Qatar Airways ferried 23oct20 DOH-LETL for onward storage ex EI-GFX
 Airbus A330 -343 855  B-LAF Cathay Pacific in svc / ferried 22-23oct20 HKG-MEL-ASP for onward storage ex F-WWYC
 Airbus A330 -243 991  A6-EYS Etihad Airways ferried 22oct20 LETL-AUH (+ -343 1226 A6-AFE) ex F-WWKM
 Airbus A330 -343 1206  G-VLUV Virgin Atlantic ferried 20oct20 CQM-MAN after storage ex F-WWKF
 Airbus A330 -343 1296  G-VRAY Virgin Atlantic Airways ferried 23oct20 CQM-MAN after storage ex F-WWKF
 Airbus A330 -243 1486  A6-EYT Etihad Airways ferried 20oct20 AUH-LETL for onward storage ex F-WWYN
 Airbus A330 -243 1561  VH-XFJ Virgin Australia International ferried 20-21oct20 MEL-KUL-LDE, all white ex F-WWYS
 Airbus A330 -941 1910  9H-SZN Air Sénégal ferried 23oct20 STN-LPBJ for onward storage ex F-WWCM
 Airbus A330 -941 1963  CS-TKH Orbest ferried 20oct20 LIS-CDT for onward storage ex F-WWYT
 Airbus A340 -642 702  EC-JLE Iberia ferried 21oct20 MAD-CDT, for part-out & scrap ex F-WWCM
 Airbus A340 -313 921  OO-ABD Air Belgium ferried 19oct20 CRL-LDE for storage

Airbus Updates No.2880


Airbus A319 -111 763  CS-TTC TAP Air Portugal to be ferried 23oct20 LIS-DGX, for part-out & scrap ex D-AVYS
 Airbus A319 -131 2375  OE-INZ Stellar Aircraft Holding regd 19oct20, parked at CQM ex ZS-SFI
 Airbus A320 -211 150  C-FFWJ Air Canada ferried 23oct20 MZJ-MCI for onward storage ex F-WWDY
 Airbus A320 -214 2191  EI-DEA Aer Lingus parked at DUB, for Allegiant Air (+ 2206 EI-DEB) ex F-WWBX
 Airbus A320 -232 2395  OE-ILV DCAL Leasing regd 20oct20, parked at CQM, for Wamos Air as EC-NHO ex TC-JUG
 Airbus A320 -233 2434  4L- Air Georgia delivery 19/23oct20 GYR-PSM-KEF-VAR, N-reg ex N492TA
 Airbus A320 -232 2502  OE-IHH Laudamotion ferried 20oct20 DUS-STN for storage (+ 3105 OE-IHL, + 3131 OE-LOQ, + 3147 OE-LOA, + 3153 OE-LOS) ex AP-BMD
 Airbus A320 -232 2522  9H-LOT Lauda Europe re-regd 19oct20 at VIE on transfer ex OE-LOT
 Airbus A320 -232 2984  OE-LOM Laudamotion ferried 20oct20 DUS-VIE prior storage ex TC-JPF
 Airbus A320 -232 3264  VT-IDZ IndiGo Airlines ferried 21oct20 DEL-CGK prior return to lessor ex CC-BJB
 Airbus A320 -232 3270  OE-IHD Laudamotion ferried 20oct20 VIE-STN for storage ex AP-BLN
 Airbus A320 -214 3272  9H-LOX Lauda Europe re-regd 21oct20 at VIE on transfer (+ 2928 9H-LOB 22oct20 ex OE-LOB) ex OE-LOX
 Airbus A320 -214 4447  N286NV Allegiant Air ferried 21oct20 CAN-HKG, full cs, RP-C reg ex RP-C3260
 Airbus A320 -232 6223  OE-IRQ Wilmington Trust SP regd 21oct20, parked at OSR, all white ex VT-TTB
 Airbus A320 -232 6278  VT-TTC Vistara ferried 21-22oct20 AMM-DEL-TBS-OSR on return to lessor ex F-WWID
 Airbus A320 -251N 9393  TC-NCK Pegasus Airlines delivery 21oct20 XFW-SAW “Melisa” ex D-AUAL
 Airbus A320 -251N 9488  TC-NCM Pegasus Airlines delivery 22oct20 XFW-SAW "Özüm"(+ 9576 TC-NCP “Günes Alya” ex D-AVVF) ex D-AUBV
 Airbus A320 -271N 9581  D-AIJC Lufthansa delivery 21oct20 XFW-SXF ex D-AXAT
 Airbus A320 -271N 10021  B-LCS Hong Kong Express delivery 24-25oct20 XFW-DWC-HKG ex D-AVVB
 Airbus A320 -251N 10037  VT-ATD AirAsia India delivery 20oct20 TLS-DEL ex F-WWIM

credit ; Skyliner aviation news

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Airbus Updates No.2879

New Jersey's GLOBALX doubles order for A321-200Fs

GLOBALX (Miami Int'l) has signed a letter of intent with lessor Vallair to lease ten A321-200Fs converted freighters with deliveries scheduled between the third quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2023. The order includes five units previously announced under an LOI for conversion with Singapore Paya Lebar-based ST Engineering and five incremental.

"Over the next six months, we intend to secure aircraft contracts for both our current and future needs through to the end of 2022 and in agreeing this lease, Vallair has enabled us to achieve this - certainly from a freighter perspective. Our focus has always been on utilising the efficiencies of A320 family aircraft and these pioneering A321 conversions by Vallair have allowed us to extend this to our cargo capability," Chief Executive Ed Wegel said.

GLOBALX currently plans to launch in January 2021. It intends to operate both passenger and cargo services. According to the carrier's investor update from early October 2020, the first of ten initial A320-200s is due to deliver in November 2020. GLOBALX plans to take ten A320-200s and five A321-200Fs in the first half a year of its operations to become the world's leading operator of the latter.

For its part, Vallair is the world's most active lessor in the emerging market for the A321-200F converted aircraft. It owns the first unit of the type recently delivered to Express Freighters Australia (QE, Sydney Kingsford Smith) and has signed a deal with SmartLynx Airlines Malta (LYX, Malta Int'l) for two units. The only other lessor with A321-200Fs in its portfolio is BBAM - two of its aircraft are completing conversions and will shortly deliver to the United Kingdom's Titan Airways (ZT, London Stansted).

Monday, 19 October 2020

Airbus Updates No.2878


SmartLynx Airlines signs up for first freighters

SmartLynx Airlines Malta (LYX, Malta Int'l) has signed a lease contract with Vallair to add two newly converted A321-200F to its fleet of passenger aircraft, it revealed in a statement on October 15.

The subsidiary of leisure charter and ACMI specialist SmartLynx Airlines (6Y, Riga) said it would be the first operator to have A321-200Fs converted by both 321 Precision Conversions - a joint venture between Air Transport Services Group and Precision Aircraft Solutions - and Elbe Flugzeugwerke, an ST Engineering joint venture with Airbus.

“Despite minor differences in direct operational costs, the company decided to go with both STCs [supplemental type certificates] to be able to offer its customers flexibility to compare and choose according to their requirements,” the statement said.

One of the two aircraft is N322WS (msn 891), a 22.1-year-old aircraft formerly operated by Air Méditerranée (ML, Lourdes/Tarbes) and currently undergoing conversion at Orlando Sanford, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module.

The other is N417PB (msn 1017), a 21.5-year-old twinjet formerly operated by R Airlines (RCT, Bangkok Don Mueang) and currently stored in Montpellier.

They will add to SmartLynx Airlines Malta's existing fleet of two A320-200s, 9H-SLA (msn 973) and 9H-SLB (msn 1945), both of which are currently stored at St. Athan airfield in the UK, ch-aviation analysis of Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows.

The airline is in discussions for further aircraft, it said, and plans to reach ten A321 units by 2023.

“Entering the freighter market was part of our expansion strategy placed in 2019. We plan to add eight more aircraft in the next three years, reaching ten Airbus units by 2023,” said CEO Zygimantas Surintas. “In parallel, we are growing our exposure in the charter business, so after the passenger market recovery, we will have one of the most competitive passenger/cargo platforms on the continent.”

In a separate statement, also on October 15, Vallair confirmed it had signed a deal with SmartLynx to lease two newly converted A321 freighters to the Maltese operator.

The launching lessor of the A321F is based in Luxembourg and has facilities in Châteauroux as well as Montpellier. It commented that “the aircraft will be operated by SmartLynx on behalf of an international freight forwarder and will be based at Malta Int'l. The location is ideal for inter-European distribution and will help to also alleviate the pressure on congested cargo hubs.”