The Paris surprises continued yesterday, as American Airlines ordered 50 A321XLR’s, the first US airline to do so. The order, like so many at Paris is mildly deceptive. 30 of the aircraft are existing A321neo conversions to XLR while only 20 are additional orders.
American, at present is the worlds largest A320 series operator with 422 aircraft, and the airline and Airbus were quick to point out that the XLR’s will replace the 757 fleet in service on a one for one basis. That might not be a good thing for the Boeing NMA, but then again, the -7 version is a much bigger aircraft and that’s coming first.
AF-KLM announced an order for 35 Boeing Brazil E-195-E2’s (or whatever they’ll be called by the time they get delivered), for KLM’s expansive CityHopper fleet. It’s a guaranteed 15 aircraft with options for 20 more.
Dublin based specialised asset leasor Accipiter Holdings, owned by CK Holdings based in the Cayman Islands and a subsidiary in turn, of CK Hutchinson Holdings based in Hong Kong, ordered 20 A320neo for sales to various clients. Accipiter only buys the most fuel efficient types for its portfolio. It’s also partnered with Vermillion an arm of Mitsubishi Aviation Partners and owns over 150 latest generation aircraft.
You might have thought Boeing no longer produced the 777-200 other than in freighter form, but yesterday, they agreed to produce one new 777-200LR for Turkemenistan Airlines to add to their fleet of three. The airline was banned from Europe recently for maintenance violations.
More good news for what amounts to being the only viable large freighter available new these days; Qatar ordered five new 777F’s to further expand its now significant cargo fleet. Qatar seems to feel the blockade isn’t going to end and is now permanent, so controlling what comes in and out of the country by air is crucial. Not only that but its determined to give Emirates, Etihad and the Saudis a run for the Middle East air freight business as they’re the ones who started the blockade rolling in the first place.
Indigo partners provided more details on where their order for XLR would be going: twenty to WiZZ Air, 18 to Frontier in the US and 12 to JetSMART. Now what will Frontier do with those I wonder? That’s a lot of range and suggests an interesting expansion of routes.