Chile’s low-cost carrier SKY Airline has just signed a Purchase Agreement with European planemaker Airbus for 10 A321XLRs. The Santiago based airline has said that it plans to use the new aircraft to expand its international route network.
Second only in size to Chilean national flag carrier LATAM, SKY currently only flies to destinations within South America. It uses a fleet of Airbus A319-100s, A320neo, and A321neo aircraft.
By ordering the A321XLR SKY Airline will be able to increase its reach and payload while still utilizing a single-aisle aircraft.
The Airbus A321XLR has a range of 4,700nm
The Airbus A321XLR, which stands for extra-long-range, will be able to transport between 185 to 236 passengers up to 4,700 nautical miles. It will burn 30% less fuel than previous generation competitors.
This will allow SKY Airline to fly longer routes that would have proven uneconomical with other aircraft.
To give you an example of where Sky Airlines can fly from its base at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago we have put together a map.
The A321XLR can fly to the Southeast and Southwest of the U.S.A. from Santiago
When speaking about the A321XLR order CEO of SKY Holger Paulmann is reported as saying on a statement put out by Airbus the following remarks:
“This new aircraft fleet will allow us to expand our offer of international and wide-ranging routes, always under our successful low-cost model and its extremely convenient ticket prices. Now passengers can enjoy new and very attractive destinations on the most modern airplanes in the market.”
In reply to Mr. Paulmann’s words Arturo Barreira, President of Airbus Latin America said: “We are delighted that SKY has selected the A321XLR to further expand its fleet of all Airbus aircraft. The A321XLR will allow SKY to offer its customers new destinations, such as direct flights from Santiago in Chile to Miami in the U.S.”
Not only will it allow SKY to fly to Miami, but Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, and Phoenix.
This means that all of South America, Central America, and the entire Caribbean are all within range of the A321XLR when operating out of Santiago.
Airbus is opening a flight training center in Chile
According to a Global Market Forecast done by Airbus, Latin America will need 2,700 aircraft over the next two decades which is double the current level.
The number of people flying is also expected to increase over the next 20 years with Chileans upping the number of flights they take from 0.89 trips a year per capita today to 2.26 trips in 2038.
In parallel with the A321XLR order, SKY has selected Airbus as its flight training provider for a new center to be built for training Chilean pilots using a full-flight A320 simulator.
SKY became an all-Airbus airline in 2013 and currently operates a fleet of 23 A320 family aircraft. This move by SKY to acquire the Airbus A321XLR is something we are going to see much more of in the coming years.
For too long, big-name airlines have dominated the long-haul market with the codeshares and alliances, but with the introduction of the A321XLR that could be about to change.