Yesterday aircraft lessor AerCap announced the signing an agreement with ACMI and charter airline euroAtlantic Airways. The agreement covers the lease of two used Boeing 787-8 aircraft, which will be delivered in the spring of 2021. Once delivered, euroAtlantic will be Portugal’s first 787 operator. ACMI stands for aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance – otherwise known as wet leasing.
“We are delighted to support euroAtlantic with two 787-8s, making them the first 787 operator in Portugal. With these new aircraft, euroAtlantic will provide next generation widebody ACMI services to the global market while at the same time enhancing their fleet operations. We wish euroAtlantic every success and we look forward to working with them, together with the Boeing team, as these aircraft deliver.” – Aengus Kelly, CEO of AerCap
AerCap claims the title of being the largest owner of commercial aircraft in the world and the most active aircraft trader.
Portugal’s first 787 operator
While euroAtlantic can claim the title of Portugal’s first 787 operator, this is mostly a technicality due to the airline being registered as a Portuguese company. However, as a wet lease operator, an overwhelming majority of the airline’s operations take place outside of Portugal.
For example, using its portfolio of Boeing 737s, 767s and a single 777, the airline has flown the following services in the past:
- Flying routes like Budapest-Chicago for LOT in order to cover for the Polish carrier’s 787 Trent 1000 engine issues.
- Newark to Rome Fiumicino for Norwegian. Unfortunately, the September 2019 flight had to be diverted to Gander, Newfoundland as technical problems arose during the flight.
- A euroAtlantic 737 has been in use by Nigeria’s Air Peace since November 2019.
- Most recently, a euroAtlantic aircraft was used to fly from Rayong (Thailand) to London Gatwick for TUI Airways.
While most of euroAtlantic’s operations are non-Portuguese, it does have one dedicated self-marketed service between Lisbon and Bissau. This is a once-weekly service (YU352) connecting the capital of the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau with Portugal’s capital city. Guinea-Bissau has historical colonial ties to Portugal.
Therefore, while the airline can say it is the first 787 operator in Portugal, it will likely fly many services outside of Portugal, between other countries. It is possible that the carrier will replace the 767 flying its Guinea-Bissau route, but this is uncertain.
The press release by AerCap also included comment from euroAtlantic’s CEO:
“We are very pleased as euroAtlantic Airways will be the first Portuguese operator of the ultra-modern 787 Dreamliner. The 787’s incredible fuel efficiency and range provide tremendous flexibility for our customers as they profitably operate the airplane on a wide range of route networks and business models such as ACMI’s, Wet Lease or Charter flights.” -Eugénio Fernandes, the CEO of the airline.”
Thankfully the planes will not go to euroAtlantic for another year. In this current climate, there is very little demand for air travel but hopefully, by the time these jets are delivered, they will become a key asset for the airline.
Have you ever flown on a euroAtlantic-operated flight? Share your experience with us in the comments!