Ryanair’s Laudamotion Eyes Ex-Thomas Cook Airbus A320s

With Thomas Cook dissolving into the past, many have eyed up their 100-strong fleet of aircraft. Ryanair’s low-cost-subsidiary, Laudamotion, is looking to take the ex-Thomas cook Airbus A320s onboard.

Ryanair History Laudamotion
Laudamotion could be looking to acquire as many Thomas cook A320s as possible. Photo: Ryanair

What are the details?

As we mentioned yesterday, fleet expansion (especially of short-haul aircraft) can be very challenging especially when it comes to acquiring the actual aircraft. By looking at what aircraft are available on the market, say from when an airline has gone bankrupt such as Thomas Cook, an opportunistic airline can quickly snap up massive capacity.

Thomas Cook Group, at its peak before its failure, had 105 aircraft in active use before it’s collapse earlier this month. Of those aircraft, 13 were Airbus A320s and 49 were Airbus A321s.

A Thomas Cook Airbus A320
Airlines will be looking to capitalize on the extra capacity left behind by Thomas Cook. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

Laudamotion, the Ryanair owned low-cost-carrier, operates an all-Airbus fleet of 21 A320-200s and is well placed to acquire as many A320s as possible. They have the infrastructure set up to support the airframe, the pilots who can fly them and the ability to sell seats immediately (just like American Airlines and the A319). This is exactly the plan that Laudiamotion is considering.

Speaking to Aviation Daily, Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary said that,

“The most immediate benefit [from Thomas Cook’s failure] will be lower-cost aircraft in the second-hand lease market. We are already in active negotiations with a number of lessors for some of the A320s,”

The amount of aircraft that Ryanair is looking to acquire for Summer 2020 will depend on price (and believe me, with so many entering the market at once it is a buyers market) and staff levels.

Why do Ryanair and Laudamotion need the Thomas Cook A320s?

Sure every airline ‘wants’ new aircraft. But why does Ryanair need these aircraft for their carrier?

According to Flight Global, Ryanair is struggling to find ways to expand its own and subsidiary fleets in time to meet the projected summer 2020 demand. Normal avenues for acquiring aircraft from aerospace builders is appearing a no go option for the airline.

Boeing is focusing on returning the 737 MAX to the skies (which Ryanair has several orders for) and Airbus is bogged down in A320 production (they recently opened a brand new production line).

With talks stalling with Airbus and Boeing about fleet expansions beyond their current order book and for smaller airlines like Laudamotion (Ryanair CEO O’Leary has complained that talks “not going very fast” to Flight Global), perhaps this Thomas Cook shortcut is the best move forward.

Ryanair, CEO, Eddie Wilson
Ryanair wants to expand as fast as possible and Boeing / Airbus can’t keep up. Photo: Ryanair

We can’t say for sure when the deal would close, but likely the lessors would want to get their current, and very expensive, paperweight A320 aircraft repainted and flying again as soon as possible. A desire that Ryanair will be sure to leverage.

What do you think? Is this a good move for Ryanair to acquire these aircraft? Let us know in the comments.