Chilean budget airline SKY has just taken delivery of its very first A321neo. The aircraft departed Airbus’ Hamburg assembly facility on July 27th at 08:55 and made its way to its new home at Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago, Chile. Let’s take a look at the aircraft’s journey and what this new addition means for the SKY fleet.
“ALC is pleased to deliver this new Airbus A321neo aircraft to SKY and be the first to introduce the aircraft to the airline and country of Chile…It is a privilege to work with SKY, and we believe this next generation aircraft will positively contribute to the airline’s sustainability…” -Matthew Stevens, Assistant Vice President of Marketing at Air Lease Corporation
The ferry flight from Hamburg to Santiago
If an aircraft were to fly directly from Hamburg (Germany) to Santiago (Chile), the flight would last well over 15 hours. As efficient as the new aircraft might be, the direct journey is, of course, beyond the range of the A321neo. As such, the brand new jet had to complete a series of ferry flights to get to the southern portion of the South American continent.
AIB Family Flights offered some information regarding the aircraft’s journey from Hamburg. According to the website, the A321neo departed Hamburg on the morning of July 27th. From there, the aircraft headed to Keflavik (Iceland), with a plan to proceed to Jacksonville (Florida, United States) and finally to Santiago (Chile). At the time of this article’s publication, the jet has departed Keflavik and is on its way over the Atlantic to JAX.
About the new aircraft
With SKY’s new A321neo, it becomes the first airline in Chile to operate the type. Airbus adds that SKY is the first airline in South America to operate the jet in a high-density cabin configuration.
Powered by CFM Leap-1A engines, the A321neo is configured to accommodate 238 passengers in a single-class layout. The A321neo’s published maximum capacity is 244 passengers. However, it should be noted that this figure on Airbus’ website has an asterisk beside it, noting that it is subject to successful certification.
Airbus adds that “the A321neo has a 95% airframe commonality with Airbus’ A320 Family, fitting seamlessly into SKY’s existing fleet of 19 A320neo…The A321neo will allow SKY to further expand their route offering in Latin America in the near future.”
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An all-neo fleet
Indeed, this new jet is a perfect fit for SKY as all of its other 20 aircraft are Airbus A320neos. In fact, the Chilean carrier has been an Airbus customer since 2010 and became an all-Airbus operator in 2013.
Before the airline’s transition to being an all-neo fleet, SKY had up to 13 Airbus A319s, ten A320-200s, and 22 Boeing 737-200s at different points in its history. The last 737 exited the airline in 2015.
In September 2018, the carrier received its first Airbus A320neo, which was just the beginning of a full modernization process. In a CAPA interview, SKY CEO José Ignacio Dougnac said:
“Well, before the pandemic, we were going through a really important transformation in terms of being much more friendly than we used to be. And that’s why we forced the fleet transition. We actually managed to change 100% of the fleet and become a full neo operator in only 15 months.”
Have you flown with this South American carrier yet? Share your experiences by leaving a comment!