The latest information available to Simple Flying appears to show that two B737MAXs destined for Air Italy have been repainted and placed into storage. This follows a number of high profile route cancellations by the airline. Simple Flying investigates the storage of these aircraft.
Two Aircraft Stored
Simple Flying has learnt that two of the latest B737 aircraft destined for Air Italy have been placed into storage. In addition, they have been repainted white. The aircraft, which were due to be leased, were set to be part of 50 new aircraft in operation by 2022. Instead, it seems as though the airline is delaying their order for the time being, although no aircraft have been cancelled.
The first of the two aircraft involved is currently registered as N981BA, due to be delivered as EI-GGM. It has so far made four test flights prior to being stored. The second is registered as N982BA and has yet to be assigned an EI tail number. In total, the airline has only received three B737MAX aircraft to date.
Air Italy has “reconfigured our delivery schedule slightly”, however, still intends to accept all originally expected aircraft. The airline’s COO told Simple Flying that “aircraft deliveries [will be] as and when needed”. The airline’s growth appears to be taking place slightly slower than was previously anticipated.
In recent months, the Italian airline has also cancelled a number of new routes. This includes all of the airline’s Asia routes. On September 10th 2018, Air Italy began operating flights to Bangkok. This was followed by Delhi and Mumbai on December 6th 2018. The Mumbai route has already ceased operation. Delhi is due to be axed on the 29th March, with Bangkok following two days later on the 31st.
Additionally, the airline was due to launch a new route from Milan to Chicago on the 14th of May this year. However, the route to Chicago is now postponed until 2020 at the latest.
Update 16:55 Following Air Italy Statement:
Simple Flying contacted Air Italy for a comment. Their Chief Operating Officer, Rossen Dimitrov told us: “As was announced several weeks ago, due to a combination of strategic network consolidation and route prioritisation, aircraft delivery changes, and market dynamics, Air Italy has made a number of recent network amendments, including increasing the frequencies on our flights to Miami and Toronto, while postponing until 2020, our flights to Chicago.”
He went on to add: “The airline business is highly dynamic and a flexible aircraft growth programme with tactically staged deliveries and a rapidly adaptable network are two of the keys to airlines being successful today. Our growth ambitions remain unchanged and we will take delivery of our ordered aircraft as and when our network requirements demand them.”
When do you think Air Italy will receive their B737 Max aircraft? Let us know in the comments down below.
Article further updated 19:45 with further information from Air Italy.