American ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), Frontier Airlines, has announced that it will retire all of its Airbus A319ceos this year. The smallest aircraft in Frontier’s fleet, these planes will depart as Frontier continues to take additional Airbus A320neo family of jets that are more fuel-efficient and provide cost savings over the A319.
Frontier Airlines plans Airbus A319 retirements
Frontier Airlines has been removing its Airbus A319s from service as it takes its newer and fuel-efficient Airbus A320neos. At the end of 2020, the airline had a fleet of 104 aircraft. Only four of those jets were Airbus A319ceos.
The Airbus A319 fleet has been reduced steadily since 2013. The final four aircraft that the airline still has in its fleet are not owned by the airline. In December 2018, Frontier completed a sale-and-leaseback agreement covering four Airbus A319ceo aircraft.
The leases on these four Airbus A319s will expire in December 2021. When 2022 starts, the airline will exclusively operate Airbus A320ceos, A320neos, A321ceos, and A321neos. This will allow Frontier to significantly reduce its average fleet age as the Airbus A319s were the oldest jets in Frontier’s fleet.
Frontier’s Airbus A319s
In 2013, Indigo Partners acquired Frontier Airlines and reshaped it into a well-known ultra-low-cost carrier with exceptionally low costs. In 2015, the airline began to increase its capacity on its planes.
On the Airbus A319ceos, the airline increased the density of the jets from 138 seats to 150 seats. The Airbus A320ceos also received densification, going from 168 seats to 180 seats.
The Airbus A319s were not the smallest aircraft to be in Frontier’s fleet. The airline previously flew Airbus A318s under the mainline service. Later, the airline ended up signing an agreement to outsource Embraer E170 aircraft operations for regional flying. Both of those aircraft were later dropped.
The Airbus A319s are mostly based out of Denver. These aircraft fly some of the smaller routes for Frontier, including out to El Paso in Texas and Bozeman in Montana.
Frontier’s fleet plans
As a ULCC, the airline is big on keeping its costs down. The airline does this by maintaining an efficient fleet of one family: the Airbus A320 family. With the A320neo family, Frontier can move forward with its fleet efficiency goals without compromising on its single fleet type.
The airline had commitments to purchase 156 Airbus A320neo family aircraft. Those are all due through the end of 2028. The new A320neo and A321neos will replace the A319ceos with larger gauge aircraft that are cheaper to operate. The A320neos seat 186 passengers, and the A321neos seat 240 passengers.
These larger-gauge aircraft have lower unit costs than the A319ceos. Frontier Airlines seeks to stimulate demand with low airfares, and filling up larger jets should be a little easier if Frontier can charge lower fares. The airline’s real test is on ancillary fees and whether it can extract a premium after gaining the attention of passengers with its low base fares.
Are you sad to see the Frontier Airbus A319s go? Let us know in the comments!