Big descision looms for Aegean

Effectively the Greek flag carrier, Aegean is facing a major descison. It runs an all Airbus fleet at present and you can be sure Airbus want to keep it that way.

However with up to 45 aircraft to replace on leases that expire between 2019 and 2023, the airline is evaluating both Airbus A320neo series and the Boeing 737Max family.

A downside of choosing Boeing is years of two-fleet types in transition, so that gives Airbus an edge. Aegean serves a number of Greek islands with seasonal high temperatures on often higher altitude or difficult to short runways than is ideal.

In the end it will be about which aircraft best suits their route profile and their ambitions, while providing decent costs and low priced leases. The airline has to make a profit.

One or two operators who fly to Aegean’s destinations in similar profiles – Tui and Monarch – may point the way. Monarch found that the 737 offered it a better solution for the type of route profile Aegean deals with. They have a number of surprising similarities.

Monarch is also a growing force in engineering and maintenance – its descison to go Boeing could be a case study for Aegean well worth studying. They have similar sized fleets and a similar business model.

It will be interesting to see how this debate pans out, any move to Boeing will require pilot re-certification on a new type and a similar process Monarch have adopted to transfer to the new type – by buying in a 738 for familiarisation purposes to get the ball rolling.

The cost of persuading Aegean to go all Boeing will be expensive for the manufacturer too, but don’t think for a minute Airbus will not compete on price and service offering.

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