Aer Lingus is storing an aircraft that only recently joined its fleet. The carrier told its staff today that the jet, which appears to be an Airbus A330, is joining a storage program in Spain due to the global health crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to rock the aviation industry. Even though business is slowly picking up, travel restrictions and passenger concerns are still keeping demand low. Therefore, the flag carrier of Ireland has to keep several members of its fleet on the ground, including new additions.
According to RTÉ Ireland, Aer Lingus chief technical officer Fergus Wilson sent a video message to his employees onboard the new aircraft. With Ireland implementing strict 14-day quarantine rules, he is confident about flight activity over the next few months.
Wilson said the following, as reported by RTÉ Ireland.
“The additional capacity that we added to our European schedule at the start of July has failed to perform to the level we had hoped – and with bookings for the coming weeks not showing an improvement, the remainder of this summer period now looks bleak,”
Lack of action
The number of inbound fliers on the airline’s three daily transatlantic services has fallen significantly since this time last year. There are currently only 150 people onboard daily. The new plane would have been going straight into the air to meet summer demand, but the change of scene has meant that there is no use for it at the moment.
According to the report, Wilson added the following:
“However, as a result of the continuing uncertainty surrounding international travel, we have taken the decision not to enter this aircraft into commercial service. Instead it will join two other Aer Lingus A330s in a long-term storage programme at Ciudad Real airport in Spain.”
The warm, semi-arid climate in Spain would help to reduce the risk of corrosion. Additionally, it will protect the aircraft from deteriorating due to a lack of action.
Looking at the numbers
Altogether, Aer Lingus has now reduced its active widebody fleet from 15 jets to just five. They serve only two routes, which are Dublin to New York JFK Dublin to Chicago.
Moreover, when it comes to narrowbody units, only three of the firm’s four A321LRs are in service. They fly the Dublin to Boston and Dublin to Heathrow routes. Meanwhile, just 17 of its 30 A320s are in operation.
In regards to other recent deliveries, according to Planespotters.net, the airline received an Airbus A321, with registration EI-LRD, in February. An Airbus A330-300, with registration EI-EIN, also joined in the same month. After that, another Airbus A330-300, with registration EI-EIK, joined in May and went into storage.
Altogether, it will be a while before pre-COVID demand returns. Therefore, Aer Lingus will be expecting to keep its new arrivals in storage in the long run. At least while they are soaking up the sun in Spain, they’ll be held in the best condition possible.
Simple Flying reached out to Aer Lingus for further details on the aircraft that was delivered. We will update the article with any new announcements.
What are your thoughts about Aer Lingus placing its brand new aircraft into storage? How do you see the airline’s operations adapting over the next year? Let us know what you think in the comment section.