Two former LATAM A350 are up for sale in the Victorville International Airport in California. These airplanes were among the firsts of their kind in Latin America; the current COVID-19 pandemic forced LATAM Airlines Group to return them as part of its ongoing Chapter 11 reorganization. What else do we know about it?
What airplanes are we talking about?
The two A350 still have their Brazilian registrations. These are PR-XTA and PR-XTB. PR-XTA was the first A350 to ever fly in South American. On its nose, it had written “Primeiro A350 XWB das Américas”.
These two planes were built in 2015 and 2016. They both have Trent XWB-84 engines. Their cabin configuration is of 30 Business seats and 309 Economy seats, according to MyAirTrade, the website where the two planes are listed.
Currently, both planes are available for operating lease or sale. The leasing company SkyWorks Leasing owns the two A350-900s.
A quick outlook at LATAM’s fleet
These two airplanes were part of an initial order of up to 25 A350s. Nevertheless, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LATAM Airlines Group has been forced to reduce its fleet size.
At the end of 2019, LATAM had a total fleet of 342 aircraft. Now, after the third quarter of 2020, LATAM’s fleet had reduced to 317 planes. It is composed of:
- 46 Airbus A319-100
- 135 Airbus A320-200
- 13 Airbus A320neo
- 38 Airbus A321-200
- 10 Airbus A350-900
- 28 Boeing 767-300
- 10 Boeing 777-300ER
- 10 Boeing 787-8
- 12 Boeing 787-9
- 11 Boeing 767-300F
Plus, it has four subleased airplanes (two Airbus A320-200, one Airbus A350-900, and one Boeing 767-300F).
LATAM has mostly returned narrowbody airplanes. In May, the airline identified 19 leased aircraft to be cut from its fleet. It included the two A350s, four Boeing 787-9, and 13 narrowbody Airbuses. In September, it added 19 more, composed entirely of A320s and A319s. Obviously, it hasn’t returned all the airplanes, but it is working on it. As LATAM said,
“The Debtors have determined that each of the Leases does not currently provide value beneficial to the Debtors or their estates in light of the economic climate currently facing the airline industry.”
What other A350s are listed?
In total, My Air Trade is listing six Airbus A350-900 ready for lease or sale. Four belong to Skytech-AIC, and the other two are the SkyWorks Leasing former LATAM planes.
The remaining four have French registrations. These are F-WZFG, F-WZFV, F-WZFU, and F-WZNZ. Three of them are registered to belong to Hainan Airlines, while one is of Tianjin Airlines.
All these planes are configured with 33 Business seats and 301 Economy seats.
The crisis of the widebodies
The aviation industry is facing the worst crisis in its history. For aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus, it has led to a reduction in production pace after years of continued growth.
We’ve seen how COVID-19 has ended up historical programs like the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747.
The production recovery is something of a mystery at the moment. For instance, aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia recently wrote that air travel demand recovery doesn’t mean that twin-aisle output will recover. He wrote in Forbes,
“Teal Group forecasts don’t call for twin-aisle output to return to the 2015-2019 peak until after 2029. By contrast, single-aisle deliveries will exceed the 2018 peak by 2024.”
Widebody manufacturers will have to rebuild their programs during this decade to adjust to the new reality. We will have to look at what does it mean for the popular A350 across the world.
Have you ever travel onboard a LATAM A350? Let us know in the comments.