Dispute On Terms Leads To Interjet Returning Leased Aircraft

Some lessors repossessed four of Interjet’s Airbus A320 airplanes, the airline said, claiming a dispute on the terms of the leasing. These four airplanes flew over the last few days from Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona, where they have been parked at Phoenix Goodyear Airport. But, there could be more than just four airplanes. What does this mean for Interjet?

Interjet has sent over 10 airplanes to Phoenix in the last three months. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno/Simple Flying.

How many Interjet airplanes are in Phoenix?

According to FlightRadar24, over the last three days, a total of eleven Interjet flights have landed in Phoenix airport. To put it in perspective, during the morning of 26 March, a total of eight airplanes of the low-cost airline were flying domestic operations across the country due to the current fall of demand. Let’s remember: Interjet has a total fleet of 88 aircraft.

Planespotters reports that a total of 10 Interjet planes have been stored in Phoenix since January. Seven of them have arrived just in March. Of these, four are Airbus A320-200, two are A320neo and four are A321neo.

Maybe the most concerning part is that Interjet received six of these airplanes between April 2017 and December 2018. These are new aircraft aimed to push Interjet into a new phase, not just old planes that are exiting the fleet.

What is the airline saying?

Yesterday, a Mexican journalist published on Twitter that only two airplanes of Interjet were flying. She added that more than 30 have flown out of the country in the last few days. Then, Interjet’s CEO, William Shaw raged against her on Twitter. He posted a photo of five Interjet planes parked in Mexico City International Airport while claiming fake news.

Earlier, a member of the Mexican carrier told me that, indeed, some lessors were repossessing some of the planes of Interjet. This person, who asked for anonymity, said,

“There were some contracts with some leasing companies that we didn’t approve. Their conditions were abusive. They decided to repossess their planes and we have no problem with that. Currently what every airline in the world wants is to cut its costs as most as possible.”

Then, the person added that Interjet currently doesn’t know if it will recover those repossessed airplanes in the future. “We can’t tell you because no one knows. No one knows what is going to happen. This is the most adverse scenario the world has ever faced.”

In the last few days, Interjet cut 40% of its demand. The carrier also stopped flying internationally due to the travel restrictions in almost every destination it served.

Interjet SSJ100
Interjet has parked 18 of its 22 Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno/Simple Flying

Interjet is already bleeding money

Earlier this year, we reported that Interjet owes more than 150 million USD in taxes, fuel, and other items. While the airline has denied every single one of these claims, there is definitely something going on behind the curtains for the low-cost airline.

Actually, the Mexican carrier has a weird approach to being a low-cost carrier. It has a fleet of 22 Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft and, of those, it has parked over 18 of them. Also, besides the ten Airbus aircraft in Phoenix, Planespotters states that an extra three A320 planes are stored in Mexico. This means that Interjet has stored up to 31 planes this year.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) told us that Interjet has difficulties paying “to banks, export credit agencies and suppliers within SSJ100 Program, including SCAC.” Meanwhile, the airline continues to promise growth, signing interline agreements with JetBlue and planning new routes to Honduras and Colombia. But, who knows what is going to happen.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.