Chilean low-cost carrier Sky Airline might just have done a $1.3bn deal with Airbus. Reuters claims to have knowledge from an industry source that says the carrier has ordered 10 A321neos from the European planemaker. While there was such an order to an ‘undisclosed customer’ in the latest Airbus update, without a firm announcement from the airline it’s a somewhat speculative situation.
Reuters has reported today that sourced have told them Chilean budget carrier, Sky Airline, has ordered 10 A321neo aircraft from Airbus. The numbers add up, as there were indeed 10 of the largest neo narrowbody sold to an undisclosed customer in the latest Airbus filing.
However, this is, at this time, just speculation, and should be taken with a pinch of salt until the airline makes a formal announcement. If the deal has indeed been done, list price would value it at a sizeable $1.3bn, although it’s likely to have attracted a healthy discount on that cost.
10 A321neos for an undisclosed customer
The order of 10 A321neos was included in the Airbus September order book, but was allocated to an ‘undisclosed customer’. Manufacturers typically don’t reveal who has ordered what, leaving it to airlines to have the privilege of making the announcement.
Of course, it wasn’t only the A321neo that was ordered by an unnamed customer. The monthly report cited 10 A220-100s and a separate order for four A220-300s, both from undisclosed buyers. It’s perfectly normal for orders to be made by invisible buyers, with airlines preferring to pick their own moments to announce their next investment.
Back at Farnborough in 2018, Flight Global reports Airbus chief commercial officer (at the time) Eric Schulz defended the swathe of undisclosed orders the manufacturer had received at the show, saying,
“At the end of the day the money’s at the bank. So disclosed, undisclosed, that doesn’t make a lot of difference. The order is there. That’s it.”
At the time, the US-China trade war was blamed for Chinese investors wishing to hide their identities. While no such issues exist between Chile and the US, there are a multitude of reasons why Sky Airline might prefer to make its own announcement, in its own time.
Chile’s Sky Airline
Styled as the somewhat awkward SꓘY, Sky Airline is headquartered at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago, Chile. Founded in 2001, it began operating with a fleet of aging Boeing 737-200s. As the airline has grown, its preference has slowly switched over to Airbus, and by this summer it was flying with 10 A319-100s and 10 A320neos.
The airline has already shown interest in the A321neo. In June this year, CH-Aviation reported the airline signing a dry lease for three A321-200neo aircraft with Air Lease Corporation, in a deal that took place at this year’s Paris Air Show.
Currently, the airline leases every one of its aircraft, so a direct order with Airbus would be a first. However, it’s also possible that a dry lease company placed the order on behalf of the airline. Then, of course, it’s completely possible that the order has nothing to do with Sky Airline at all. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.