The South American country’s main airline, state-owned Aerolíneas Argentinas, is looking for aircraft to reinforce the capacity of its fleet in view of the expected growth in the coming months.
In an interview with CH-Aviation, Pablo Ceriani, CEO of the Argentine flag carrier, said he expects a 20% increase in peak season demand by the end of this year and another 10% in 2023. However, the chief executive stressed that the company does not have “enough planes to fly to all the destinations we were flying to before the pandemic”.
Faced with this shortage of aircraft at a time of recovery, Ceriani stated that he is negotiating the lease of two Airbus A330-200 jets, of which the company currently has eight units.
He also commented that he plans to lease another four new generation Airbus A330-900neo, which could be introduced to the company between 2024 and 2025.
According to Ceriani, the long-haul fleet of Aerolíneas Argentinas should have 12 A330 jets, the same number as before the pandemic.
The carrier’s CEO also signaled that lease agreements with leasing company Aircastle for the company’s older A330-200 models, which have an average age of 20 years, will not be renewed.
Boeing 737 MAX and Embraer E2 in the plans
In addition to the intention to acquire new widebodies aircraft, the Argentinian airline also plans to upgrade the fleet of single-aisle jets, today with 45 Boeing 737 aircraft (NG and MAX models) and 26 Embraer E190s, which were inherited from the former subsidiary Austral.
Asked about replacing the E190, which has an average of 12 years of use, Ceriani commented on the company’s interest in the Airbus A220, but that the chances are much better for the Embraer E2, mainly because of the pilots. “The transition (from the E190 to the A220) can be very complicated,” said the executive.
Regarding the Boeing 737, Aerolíneas Argentinas is targeting the new MAX model, in the MAX 8 and MAX 9 versions, to renew the type’s fleet, according to the company’s CEO, given that the lease contracts for eight 737-700 models expire in 2025.