Smartlynx’s Malta subsidiary will add five new Airbus A330s to its fleet, the first widebodies in operation. Notably, these A330s will come without any seats, leaving an empty cabin to boost cargo capacity. Let’s find out more about Smartlynx’s growing fleet.
Wet lease carrier Smartlynx Airlines has announced that it will lease five Airbus A330s to boost its aircraft portfolio. The widebodies will allow the airline to begin flying long-haul routes and add much more capacity. However, given the surging global demand for freight, the airline has taken an interesting step.
To maximize freight capacity, Smartlynx has partnered with Eirtech Aviation for its Zero LOPA (Layout of Passenger Accommodation) conversion. This will mean the aircraft is delivered with no seats and free cabin space to store pallets of cargo that can be secured to the floor.
Cargo demand has continued to rise through the last year, with IATA estimating demand to be up 9% over pre-pandemic levels (early 2019). Considering this, Smartlynx has been one of many wet lease airlines switching to providing freight services to organizations around the world.
In a statement about the new aircraft, Smartlynx Airlines CEO Zygimantas Surintas said,
“We are constantly expanding our service portfolio and areas of expertise to accommodate the rapidly changing market demand. It’s our strong belief that the pandemic and the current global crisis will create many opportunities for growth and development for our company and the whole industry.
“The addition of the modified Airbus A330 aircraft is a big step forward for SmartLynx Airlines and we are more than excited to see what challenges and victories it will bring.”
For Smartlynx, the decision to add A330s is a big step. According to Planespotters.net, the airline has only operated A320 and A321s throughout its 28-year history. It briefly flew a Boeing 767 from January to June 2009 but has never ventured further into the widebody leasing market.
The A330s are a long-term investment and will likely remain in the fleet for years to come. While the exact variant of the jet was not specified in Smartlynx’s statement, the first jet will be an A330-300. The aircraft is just over eight years old was originally delivered to Singapore Airlines in 2013 before going to Evelop Airlines in 2019.
It is notable that while the fleet will come in as a “preighter,” it will not remain that way forever. Smartlynx plans to convert these five A330s back into passenger aircraft in the future once demand returns. All aircraft have been leased from CDB Aviation.
Smartlynx plans to deploy its A330s on routes to the US, Europe, and Asia in the coming months. Previously, the carrier only flew to destinations in Europe and the Middle East due to range constraints on the A320 family. However, the widebodies can open up several routes will growing demand.
What do you think about Smartlynx’s decision to add new aircraft? Let us know in the comments!