Monday: Cathay to store fleet, Starlux, VivaAir, FrenchBee, ANZ

Eight A330neo…

Any news is good news it seems. Starlux ordering eight leased A330-900neo, was finally confirmed on Saturday. The last quarter of 2021 is the first delivery via US based AirLease Corporation.

Its not the brightest news for Airbus however, the airline is deferring its A350-900’s to 2022 but at the same time added another to the overall order, taking the total to 18.

The airline only started operations in January, then was effectively shut down by Covid19, and lately has been operating flights to nowhere on its A321neo’s.

Many argue that while Starlux is hopeful of breaking the Taiwanese dupoply of China Airlines and EVA Air, the market might simply not be big enough for another full scale airline, which will be utterly reliant on stealing their passengers, passengers they won’t be keen to let go of.

There’s also no certainty the important business market will come back to the same level it was before the advent of Zoom.

Viva Air reveals latest livery on its first A320neo

Colombian low cost carrier Viva Air has revealed its latest livery on the first of its new A320neo’s. It will be registered as HK-5352 when delivered but when that happens remains uncertain.

Viva Air has 20 A320ceo’s, but ten of them are grounded at present. In common with many of the ULCC/LCC model airlines, Viva seems anxious to get new aircraft aboard as soon as possible simply to save running and service costs, and will likely ditch its older aircraft quite quickly.

Avianca is expected to get its bailout soon (but a court case in Colombia and in the US against the bailout has slowed things, and both airlines need the Colombian Government and the destination governments to give permission for international routes to resume.

Cathay to park up 40% of fleet in desert storage

Having slashed its capacity expectations by 40% for the coming months, the flag carrier for what was a once semi-independent Hong Kong, rattled by Chinese government interference, Covid and pro-democracy demonstrations, has decided its has no choice but to take a 40% slice of its fleet out of permanent action for the forseeable future.

Some aircraft have already gone to Alice Springs in central Australia, others are expected to be shipped to various storage facilities in the United States.

The groupo has already deferred A350’s and A321’s for over two years with Airbus and is working out a deal with Boeing to postpone its 21 777-9’s, which it says it still wants – eventually.

To Cathay’s dismay they carried even fewer passengers in July than in June, less than 36,000 in total.

FrenchBee wants more A350’s, this time -1000’s

FrenchBee has an interesting customer base – operating out of Paris Orly, it mostly services the ‘DomTom” (Département Outre-Mer or Territoires Outre-Mer) destinations. These are far flung former French colonies that are now considered as a much a part of European France as Paris itself. However they range from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean and Caribbean.

For many Europeans and of course French, these tropical islands are popular year round destinations that don’t require Visas (and in the case of French nationals not even a passport, a formal ID card will do).

The airline sees a growing opportunity in the coming years and is looking for a 488 seat two cabin A3350-1000 format, with 40 premium economy and the rest standard economy seats.

The airline is already operating its fourth A359, which it took delivery of in August. because the DomToms are considered domestic France travel there is endlessly popular.

FrenchBee is also going to work with airbus on its “Follow-Fly” wake-harnessing trials, which potentially could cut fuel consumption by having two aircraft using primary trunk routes at high altitude, follow each other closely, before separating at the end of their journey for their arrival airports.

ANZ grounds fleet even longer

With recovery from the pandemic well below expectations, Air New Zealand confirmed it will keep its 777 fleet grounded for at least another full year – until late September 2021 when the Southern Summer begins.