The Australian carrier Alliance Airlines is set to acquire fourteen E190 with options for a further five. The jets formerly belonged to the Panamanian company Copa Airlines, which was looking all along to get rid of its Embraer fleet and become the second all Boeing 737 operator in Latin America, after GOL Linhas Aereas. Let’s investigate further.
How did the deal happen?
According to The Australian, Alliance Airline deal is worth AUS$111 million (US$78.9 million). The Brisbane-based carrier will take delivery of the 14 E190 jets from September. Meanwhile, according to CH-Aviation, the agreement was made with Azorra Aviation, not directly with Copa Airlines.
The former Copa Airlines E190 jets will be repainted with Alliance’s colors. Additionally, the Australian airline has an option to acquire an extra five E190. As part of the contract signed with Azorra Aviation, Alliance also will purchase equipment, tooling, training devices, six CF34 engines for spare, and the option to acquire a full flight simulator.
What’s up with Copa Airlines?
At the end of the first quarter of 2020, Copa Airlines had a 102 aircraft fleet: six Boeing 737 MAX 9, 82 Boeing 737 NG and 14 Embraer E190.
Before the current pandemic started, Copa Airlines had expressed its interest in becoming an airline with a single airplane fleet. Last year, Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Holdings, said,
“[Copa hopes to realize] significant cost and revenue benefits from operating a single-Boeing fleet…While we will most likely end up taking a significant number of MAX aircraft next year, most of them will be used to replace the outgoing 100-seat Embraer aircraft.”
Nevertheless, since Pedro Heilbron said that last year, Copa Airlines had not advanced in the retirement of its Embraer fleet; moreover, the company also announced that it is planning to retire early its fleet of 14 Boeing 737-700 NG planes.
Copa Airlines is one of the most affected carriers by the current pandemic. It was grounded for four months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just recently, Panama opened up its airspace with heavy restrictions, in a small step towards the relaunching of commercial operations. With that in mind, Heilbron said Copa would come from the pandemic as a different airline. It will look more like how it was in 1992.
This week, Copa Airlines will present its second-quarter results. We hope to see more information regarding the early retirings of its fleet. For now, we see that Copa is reducing the size of its fleet from 102 to 74 airplanes. On a regional scale, we said last month that the Latin American fleet could reduce by 300 planes due to coronavirus.
What’s the story of Alliance Airlines?
Alliance Airlines is a regional airline in Australia. Recently Qantas acquired a 19.9% stake of the carrier, worth USD$40 million. It is a charter operator with a base in Brisbane. It flies to 42 cities across Australia and New Zealand.
Alliance has a fleet of 46 aircraft: 25 Fokker F100, 16 Fokker F70, and five Fokker F50. Nevertheless, the market for acquiring the Dutch planes is currently reducing, so Alliance Airlines had to diversify.
The carrier plans to use the E190 on regional routes and some mainline routes, said Scott McMillan, managing director. He added,
“Our Fokker fleet remains the core of our fleet, and we believe it will remain in service for many years to come, especially given our significant spare parts and inventory stores. With limited Fokker aircraft acquisition opportunities, it was also the time to acquire a newer aircraft in order to position us for our next growth phase.”
We contacted both Alliance Airlines and Copa Airlines for a statement regarding this deal. We haven’t received a response as of yet. We will update the article with any further announcements.
What do you think of Alliance’s acquisition? Let us know in the comments.