Low-cost Mexican airline Interjet is rumored to be close to finalizing a deal on 12 Airbus A220. Reuters yesterday reported that the airline was looking to make changes to its fleet amid the partial grounding of its Sukhoi Superjet regional aircraft. The deal on the new A220 is reported to be worth an estimated $1 billion.
Replacement for the Sukhoi Superjet 100
Reportedly, Interjet is looking into the A220 to replace its Sukhoi Superjet 100. But, as Interjet owns 22 of the Sukhoi Superjet, a deal for 12 Airbus aircraft would replace only a portion of them. It is not yet clear what will happen with the remaining 10 aircraft, though the airline does have plans to remove them all at some stage.
No matter when that Superjet retirement happens, the deal will see Interjet relying more heavily on Airbus as it gets closer to narrowing its fleet to just one aircraft supplier. It has a fleet of 85 aircraft currently, of which 63 are manufactured by Airbus. The airline relies most heavily on the A320 with 47 in its fleet but it also flies three A320neo, six A321 and seven A321neo.
If the remaining 10 Sukhoi Superjet 100 stay with the carrier, then the replacement would see Interjet with 75 Airbus models. But what would be the implication?
An Airbus-tinted future
If its fleet was solely Airbus, it might make operating costs easier for the airline. Low-cost carriers typically operate just one type of aircraft to keep costs of running their fleets lower. With only Airbus to liaise with, it would be able to acquire better deals and only train its staff on one type of craft.
An Airbus-only fleet would also help it to mitigate the bad press it received with the Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash. Interjet has stayed relatively quiet about this in its pressroom, although its financial reports are the medium it chooses to release the finer details of its plans in the coming months.
What is happening with its Sukhoi Superjet?
In its Q1 2019 financial report, the airline reported a gradual phasing out of its Sukhoi Superjet 100. Operating costs for the airline have increased by 6.5% and it blamed some of this on the aircraft.
“…the amount of expenditure reflects the gradual phasing out of the SSJ100 fleet.”
Despite being one of the leading operators of the SSJ100, it seems Interjet is now preparing to take its business entirely elsewhere.
The Airbus A220
Airbus currently produces its A220 in two variants: the A220-100 and -300. It’s a single-aisle jet which aims to deliver on the wide-body experience. The model isn’t known for long-haul flying. In fact, the longest recorded flights on the aircraft were 3 hours and 50 minutes.
Despite that Interjet clearly needs models to fly shorter distances that were previously taken by the SSJ100. As well as international routes to South America, it also offers services to other destinations in Mexico and in the United States.
It recently expanded its South American services, adding an extra route from Cancun to Lima. Interjet currently flies to 53 destinations and the A220 might be a better replacement for those services which are normally flown by Sukhoi Superjet 100.
At the moment, it is unclear exactly what model of A220 the airline is looking to purchase or when the deal will be finalised. Interjet was unavailable for comment on the matter and there is no official release on the deal.
Had you heard about Interjet’s A220 deal? Do you think it will operate solely Airbus aircraft?