It is not new that the A319neo, the smallest member of the Airbus single-aisle aircraft family, has attracted few interested parties. But since the arrival of Bombardier’s C Series jets, renamed the A220, sales of the model have practically stagnated.
A rare exception came from US low-cost airline Spirit Airlines, which amid a large order in 2020 included 31 A319neo in its deal with Airbus.
But this week the carrier revealed that the A319neo is off the table. The 31 orders were converted into A321neo aircraft, with greater capacity and currently the most successful in the company’s portfolio.
Thanks to the change, the backlog of the A319neo was cut by 50%: it was 92 aircraft until the first half and now includes only 61 jets, 14 of which have already been delivered.
With capacity for up to 160 seats, the A319neo is considered an aircraft with a not so advantageous operating cost, despite its good range of 6,850 km.
Furthermore, the priority to expand sales of the A220-300 may have overshadowed the role of the A319neo in the Airbus aircraft line.
Add to this the growing preference of airlines for larger models such as the A321neo and the pessimistic scenario for the A319neo is complete.
So far, the A319neo has been an aircraft with very little demand from airlines. In fact, after Spirit’s withdrawal, only Chinese carriers have orders for the type.
The biggest customer is China Southern Airlines, with nine orders, four of which have already been delivered. Air China and Tibet Airlines have five orders, but only the second operates the A319neo. There is also a small order for two planes from Sichuan Airlines.
In addition to these, there are nine A319neo ordered by governments and executive use, in addition to 31 aircraft whose customers were not revealed.
This is even worse sales performance than the A318, the smallest Airbus ever developed, which had only 80 units produced. Even the predecessor A319ceo sold much more – 1,486 aircraft, to be precise.
How long Airbus should keep the A319neo in its portfolio is difficult to know. Due to the negative impact of admitting a mistake like this it is unlikely that this will happen, however.
Furthermore, as part of a successful family, with more than 9,600 aircraft ordered, the A319neo can remain available for purchase, especially for corporate customers, a good alternative for the model.