With Flair’s rapid expansion over the past year, the airline will need to ensure it has sufficient aircraft to fulfill its scheduling commitments. When the airline started 2021, it had three – yes, just three – Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Its fleet has now grown to have eight 737s, with more on the way. Let’s take a look at the Flair Airlines fleet in 2021.
Starting with just three 737-800s
Flair Airlines began the year with just three Boeing 737-800s. These jets were acquired on the second-hand market, flying with Flair since mid-2019. Collectively, these have an average age of just under 11 years. Registered C-FFLA, C-FFLC, and C-FFLJ, these older jets have flown with airlines such as Air China, Germany’s Air Berlin, and Thailand’s Siam Air. Simple Flying had an opportunity to fly onboard one of these jets, writing a review of the experience here.
January 2021: A major acquisition
Then, at the start of 2021, Flair announced that it was taking on 13 737 MAX 8s from Boeing. These jets are coming to the airline through a lease agreement with a company called 777 Partners, an investment firm based in Miami with 25% ownership of Flair Airlines. As we had noted previously, 777 Partners had themselves recently signed off on purchasing 24 new MAX 8s directly from Boeing, with the option for a further 60 planes.
Commenting on the milestone order, Stephen Jones, President & CEO of Flair Airlines, said,
“Our efficient new aircraft will provide us the foundation to execute our ULCC business model. These planes will enable us to keep fares low while expanding our service to meet travel demand.”
On May 29th, Flair took delivery of the first of these MAX jets. Planespotters.net data showed that the nearly two-year-old aircraft held three prior test registrations (N1786B, N1799B, N1782B, N57001) before taking its current Canadian letters.
Since late May, Flair has taken delivery of four more MAX 8s with a plan to take delivery of three more MAX 8s in the next few weeks. While this will push the airline’s total fleet size to 11, the airline’s January announcement to take 13 MAXs means it will have an initial fleet size of 16.
Ultimately, however, the airline has a goal of 50 aircraft within its first five years of operation. A goal which it has ‘codenamed’ “F50.” The carrier is likely to keep quite close to the low-cost-carrier playbook, ordering more of the same type to reduce training and operational costs associated with fleet diversification.
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While somewhat ‘brand new,’ without any previous owners, Flair’s newest jets are around one-and-a-half to two years of age. This would indicate that the aircraft are so-called ‘whitetails.’ These are aircraft originally built for another customer but canceled at some point along the way.
The age of these aircraft would indicate that they were canceled due to the 737 MAX crisis, which stretched from March 2019 to early 2021.
With the MAX recertified by the FAA and Transport Canada, Flair is confident of the type’s safety. We would imagine that the leasing company acquiring the jets likely purchased them at a great price due to the MAX controversy and was thus able to pass those savings on to Flair.
While Flair’s fleet is certainly quite uniform (fitting with most budget airlines), its expansion in 2021 and anticipated growth over the next few years will certainly be exciting to watch.
Have you flown with Flair yet? Let us know in the comments.