DALLAS – The International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the parent entity of carriers such as Iberia (IB), British Airways (BA), and Vueling (VY), is continuing its narrow-body fleet expansion with ten more Airbus A320neo family aircraft, which have been transformed from an option to firm order today.
IAG is one of the largest commercial aviation enterprises. Founded in 2011, it currently owns and operates 635 aircraft across 16 airline subsidiaries. Of those, more than half belong to the long-successful Airbus A320 family, including both CEO and NEO series.
Luis Gallego, the group’s CEO, said, “The group’s will is to always have the latest technology to ensure the greatest efficiency, both in emissions and consumptions. We have various financing options available and will choose the most appropriate financing source closer to the delivery time.”
The first of these ten airframes will join IAG’s operations in 2028, and it is still undisclosed which carriers will benefit from this fleet expansion. IAG maintains a constant flow of aircraft between its subsidiaries to ensure demand is met with capacity, especially during the summer season.
IAG’s Narrow-Body Future
Historically, short-haul operations at IAG have been dominated by Airbus. At the moment of writing, the Airbus A320 family fleet at IAG adds up to 374 airframes, of which 90 belong to the “New Engine Option” category. However, starting late this year, the group will shortly welcome a new member which will complement European operations: the Boeing 737 MAX.
Between 2023 and 2027, the International Airlines Group expects to take delivery of 50 MAX units, presumably the standard 737-8. The chosen operator still needs to be confirmed. Luis Gallego stated, “Vueling is one alternative for the 737 MAX. However, for this to happen we need to have a cost structure that allows us to invest in it.”
VY has continuously operated the A319, A320, and A321. But the company has shown clear signs of lack of capacity, as it was forced to wet-lease several GetJet (GW) aircraft for the summer season, as demand keeps increasing after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Consolidated Airlines Group is one of the world’s largest airline groups, responsible for carrying almost 100 million yearly passengers from its main hubs in Western Europe to America. It has positioned itself as one of the leading airline companies in the transatlantic market.
IAG is currently the parent company of Aer Lingus (EI), British Airways (BA), and Iberia (IB) in the premium airline market, as well as of Vueling (VY) and Fly LEVEL, which are showing the best revenue results in history this year 2023.
The group is currently going under one of the most significant airline mergers, expecting to incorporate the Spanish airline Air Europa (UX) in the coming months. Once the deal is finalized, IAG would eventually become, by far, the largest company offering transatlantic flights between Europe and Latin America, with more than half of the share of this commercial aviation market.
Featured image: British Airways and LEVEL (IAG) Airbus A320 tails. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways.