LONDON – The first Airbus A320neo for Aircalin (SB) has been seen on its first flights around the Airbus factory in Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS).
F-OTIB (MSN 10049), currently in the test registration of F-WWIR, is due to be delivered to SB in the next few weeks, following an order made in October 2017 for two units of the type. That same order was also for two Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, which have already been delivered to the airline.
The airline will operate 168 seats in the A320neo and will be deployed on routes across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
It is understood that Pratt & Whitney engines will be used on the aircraft. Back in 2017, Didier Tappero, the CEO of Aircalin stated that such an investment is needed for efficiencies.
“Investing in our new fleet of modern efficient aircraft reduces our environmental impact thanks to lower fuel burn and allows Aircalin to reduce operating costs too. Equipped with the latest technology the aircraft will drive Aircalin’s strategy forward in Asia Pacific as well as its ambition to promote the development of tourism in New Caledonia”.
A Deal from Industry Legend John Leahy
This deal made between Airbus and SB was put together by aircraft salesman legend John Leahy, who also commented on the deal in 2017, expressing pleasure over the deal.
“It is a pleasure to see Aircalin modernising its fleet with our latest generation single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft. The A330neo and A320neo will enable Aircalin to offer its customers unprecedented levels of comfort”.
“Aircalin will benefit from the unique commonality between all variants of the Airbus Family and enjoy efficiencies throughout its existing fleet.”
Potential Struggles on the Way for Aircalin?
SB has already had to make cuts to its structure due to the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in May, it took the decision to make 480 staff redundant from the airline as well as cutting services to Melbourne (MEL) and Osaka-Kansai (KIX).
At that time also, the airline was losing around $7.2 million per month, with four of its seven aircraft remaining grounded due to such lack of demand.
This of course could result in higher overheads, especially if all aircraft are not being used and some will have to be placed in storage whilst it continues to combat the pandemic.
Positive for Airbus?
Overall, this seems to be considered positive news for Aircalin and Airbus, especially with the manufacturer still able to deliver aircraft during this volatile time in the industry.
For Aircalin, it is evident that long-term thinking continues to be the strategy for the carrier, as there are plenty of growth opportunities as soon as the pandemic comes to more of a stand-still.
But for now, all we can do is sit and watch Aircalin perform either negatively or positively, and see what actions it has to take as a result.
Featured Image: Aircalin Airbus A320neo seen at Toulouse Blagnac Airport. Photo Credit: Eurospot