Monday Briefing – 24 June 2019

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Airbus A321neo XLR aircraft in Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Iberia, JetBlue and Qantas liveries
Airbus A321neo XLR aircraft in Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Iberia, JetBlue and Qantas liveries (Image Credit: Airbus)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 24 June 2019.

Paris Air Show Orders

It’s been a busy week for aircraft orders at the Paris Air Show. Here are the main headline orders:

American Airlines has ordered 50 Airbus A321neo XLR aircraft. This was secured through the conversion of delivery slots for 30 Airbus A321neo aircraft and a new order for 20 aircraft.

International Airlines Group has signed a Letter of Intent for 200 Boeing 737 MAX 8/10 aircraft. IAG has also ordered 6 Airbus A321neo XLR aircraft for Aer Lingus and 8 for Iberia.

Indigo Partners has ordered 50 Airbus A321neo XLR aircraft which will be deployed at 3 of its airlines, Frontier, JetSMART and WizzAir.

JetBlue has ordered 13 Airbus A321neo XLR aircraft through the conversion of existing orders for Airbus A321neo aircraft.

Qantas Group has ordered 36 Airbus A321neo XLR aircraft. This was secured through the conversion of orders for 26 Airbus A321neo aircraft and a new order for 10 aircraft. These will be operated by either Jetstar or Qantas.

Virgin Atlantic has ordered 14 Airbus A330neo aircraft which will replace its existing fleet of Airbus A330-200/300 aircraft.

In terms of what wasn’t announced, IAG has yet to announce an order to fulfil its growth ambitions for LEVEL. IAG has also not announced an order for the Airbus A321neo LR/XLR aircraft for BA.

It’s possible that IAG does not see it as big enough for long-haul routes at Heathrow. However, there are gaps in BA’s worldwide network, notably Africa, where the Boeing 787 does not appear to be an economic option. IAG can hardly be criticised for playing to geographic strengths of its Dublin, London and Madrid hubs, but it is becoming heavily geared towards transatlantic traffic.

It will be some months before IAG gives a full update on its fleet plan but its fleet announcements this year have been distilled here.

Airline fleet plans are of course at the mercy of economic and geopolitical events.

In the past week, we have seen rising tensions between the US and Iran. HSBC also gave warning that more airlines would follow Lutfhansa and issue profit warnings due to “rapidly weakening demand”. Cathay Pacific also highlighted indications of declining demand and intense pressure on yields in a traffic update last week.

“The Conversation: Female Flight Attendants” on BBC World Service

Kim Chakanetsa interviews two female cabin crew in “The Conversation” on the BBC World Service today.

Kim’s guests are Heather Poole, author “Cruising Attitude: Tales Of Crashpads, Crew Drama And Crazy Passengers At 30,000 Feet” and Gretchen Ryan, formerly cabin crew for South African Airways in the 1980s and has just published “Secrets Of A Stewardess”. The programme airs shortly after 11:30 BST. (BBC World Service)

In case you missed it:

BALPA may announce a ballot for industrial action at BA this week. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon has resigned from the airline and will leave on 25 September 2019, ending a 7 year tenure. Local press have speculated this may be to pursue a career in politics, or it may be a case of knowing to quit whilst you’re ahead. A successor is yet to be appointed. (Air New Zealand)

Virgin Atlantic celebrates its 35th birthday. It was on 22 June 1984 that flight VS1, operated with a leased Boeing 747-200 bearing the name “Maiden Voyager”, departed London Gatwick for Newark. (Virgin Atlantic)

Virgin Atlantic’s first Airbus A350-1000 appears in Virgin Atlantic colours. (Virgin Atlantic)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

Lufthansa is holding its Capital Markets Day today. The main headline is that Eurowings is to withdraw from long-haul flights and focus on point-to-point short-haul traffic. Its operations are to be simplified with a reduction in the number of AOCs to one in Germany. Brussels Airlines will also not be integrated into Eurowings. (Lufthansa Group)

British Airways has retired another Boeing 747 today. Aircraft G-BNLN departed London Heathrow for St Athan this afternoon, having completed no less than five back-to-back trips to Cape Town over the past couple of weeks.

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