Earlier this week, Indigo Partners announced a massive 255 Airbus A320neo family order during the Dubai Airshow. This order included 39 new A321neos for the Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris, as well as several changes to its previous order swapping A320neos for A321neos. How big will Volaris grow with this new purchase? Let’s investigate further.
Volaris’ fleet growth
Volaris currently has the largest Airbus order in Latin America. According to the Airbus orders & deliveries database, Volaris has an order of 156 aircraft with Airbus, and it had received 63 units up to October 2021. Now, adding up the new Indigo Partners purchase, Volaris’ unfilled orders have increased to 102 planes.
Other Latin American carriers also have big orders with Airbus. For instance, Avianca is set to receive 70 A320 aircraft starting in 2024; LATAM also has unfilled orders for 70 aircraft, according to Airbus; JetSMART will now receive 98 additional airplanes (the Chilean ULCC was also included in Indigo Partners’ massive order). Viva Aerobus still has to receive nearly 40 units, and Viva Colombia around 25.
Up to the end of 2021’s third quarter, Volaris had a fleet of 94 aircraft. It was composed of six Airbus A319, 72 A320, and 16 A321. The company projects to finish 2021 with 101 airplanes and 2022 with 113. Just to give you a comparison: during 2019’s third quarter, Volaris had a fleet of 80 aircraft. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop the Mexican ULCC to keep on growing.
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Up-gauging the fleet
Volaris not only signed an order to acquire new aircraft, but it also modified its previous order with Airbus. In a statement, the airline said,
“In addition to the acquisition of these 39 aircraft, Volaris negotiated with Airbus 20 conversions from A320neo to A321neo aircraft of its current order.”
Volaris currently has six A321neos. These planes have the capacity to carry 230 passengers onboard, compared to the 186 that can travel onboard the A320neo. Therefore, Volaris is up-gauging its fleet by adding 880 seats with the renegotiation with Airbus.
Growth, growth, growth
Volaris is in full growth mode. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Volaris is back on the growth path. The carrier has had back-to-back profitable quarters, and it is already carrying more passengers than it did in 2019. According to Volaris’ management, it could close the year with 25 million passengers. So far, it has grown 7.2% compared to its pre-pandemic levels.
In terms of available seats per miles (ASMs), Volaris intends to increase its offer by 30% by the end of 2021.
This year alone, Volaris has opened a new carrier in El Salvador. It has also launched operations in new countries like Honduras (with the San Pedro Sula-San Salvador route) and Colombia (with connections from Mexico City and Cancun to Bogota).
Volaris has also signed up as the first carrier to officially operate flights out of Mexico City’s new international airport next year.
The Mexican low-cost carrier has been very successful in attracting new passengers from bus lines. In the midst of the worst crisis, it has also been strangely lucky since one key player disappeared (Interjet), and the other went into reorganization mode (Aeromexico). Additionally, Mexico never closed its borders nor imposed domestic travel restrictions, allowing Volaris to bounce back quicker than anyone else.
What do you think of Volaris’ fleet growth plans? Let us know in the comments below.