Low-cost carrier Wizz Air has agreed to lease two new Airbus A321s and two A320s from Vermillion Aviation Holdings Ireland. The jets, which are powered by International Aero Engine V2500 engines, are due to be delivered between July and March next year.
Wizz Air’s fleet currently consists of 63 A320s and 16 A321s.
Airbus has completed the handover of the first A321 to Iran Air. The historic moment came in Toulouse on January 11 and is the first airframe from a 100-strong order placed by the carrier in December. The aircraft is registered EP-IFA (c/n 7418) and is configured with 12 seats in Business Class and 182 in Economy.
“This significant milestone marks the first practical step in Iran Air’s ambitious passenger aircraft fleet renewal and its stronger presence in international civil aviation. Iranian travellers can be proud with our selection of the world’s most modern single-aisle aircraft,” said Farhad Parvaresh, Iran Air Chairman and CEO. “Iran Air is delighted with this first Airbus delivery and congratulates everyone involved who made it possible. Today signals that with international collaboration and co-operation, we can achieve mutually beneficial commercial goals.”
Fabrice Bregier, President, Airbus Commercial Aircraft and Chief Operating Officer Airbus, stated: “Today is a momentous occasion and I congratulate Iran Air on taking delivery of its first new aircraft in many years. As we take these first steps together, we stand ready to support the development and modernisation of Iran Air. Clearly in a country of 80 million people, there is a need for the latest passenger aircraft to meet domestic as well as international demand.”
Iran Air’s deal includes 46 A320 Family jets, 16 A350s and 38 A330 Family aircraft. Airbus’ COO – Customers, John Leahy revealed that two of the A330s are aircraft that were built for another customer but which never entered commercial service.
Airbus reiterated the delivery complies with all relevant international laws. The Toulouse-based manufacturer says it coordinated closely with regulators in the EU, US and elsewhere to ensure understanding and full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA).
Independent carrier Germania has opened its new base in Nuremberg. The airline is permanently stationing an Airbus A319 at the airport, its thirteenth base, offering flights to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife and Madeira during the 2016/17 winter season.
It will be joined by a Boeing 737 ahead of the summer season, enabling the carrier to expand its offering with flights to Palma, Faro, Ibiza, Reykjavik/Keflavik, Samos, Rhodes, Paphos and Dalaman. In the second half of the year, Germania will begin flights between Nuremberg and Tel Aviv.
Elsewhere in Germany, the carrier is adding an Airbus A321 to its fleet at Münster Osnabrück and a 737 at Erfurt-Weimar.
“We are consolidating our network and are creating more opportunities to interchange our aircraft,” explained Karsten Balke, Germania’s CEO. “For more than three decades, Germania has been a partner of decentralised airports. We are well positioned as a quality airline within the local competitive environment which we will continue to expand and strengthen.”
Azores Airlines has revealed it is updating its short-haul and transatlantic fleets. The Sociedade Açoreana de Transportes Aéreos (SATA)-owned carrier is planning to lease six new Airbus A321neos – including four longer range A321LRs – under a deal signed with US lessor Air Lease Corporation. It has selected CFM Leap 1A-powered aircraft, which will be delivered from late next year through to early 2021. The decision follows a growth strategy to expand into new transatlantic routes as well as improving existing services to mainland Portugal and other European destinations.
Paulo Menezes, CEO of SATA Group, said: “Our mission is to bring the Azores to the world and the world to the Azores, and we are happy to be investing in the Airbus A321neo aircraft to continue achieving this. The A321LR’s passenger comfort, performance, superior range and fuel efficiency match our long-haul as well as regional needs.”
The LR variant of the A321neo will be able to fly sectors up to 4,000nm (7,412km), allowing Azores Airlines to continue to serve North American destinations, including Boston, Providence, Toronto and Montréal. The new aircraft also offers the carrier further options to introduce new routes and increase its frequencies.
US lessor Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has revealed a firm order for three Airbus A350-900s and one A321 at the Farnborough International Airshow.
“These additional A350 and A321 aircraft were needed to fill ongoing customer lease placements as we continue to experience strong A350 and A321 demand,” said John L Plueger, Air Lease Corporation’s CEO and President.
The deal takes ALC’s portfolio of Airbus aircraft to 267, including 24 A350-900s, 27 A321ceos and 118 A321neos.
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, said: “ALC is a leading lessor and longstanding partner of Airbus. We would like to thank ALC for their continued confidence in our Airbus products. Their customers will be delighted with the unbeatable economics as well as the superior cabin comfort in all classes for their passengers.”
Airbus has handed over the second A321 to roll off the production at its Mobile, Alabama manufacturing facility, just three weeks after the first example joined JetBlue Airways. The jet, N162AA (c/n 6621), was delivered to American Airlines on May 17 in front of executives from the manufacturer and the airline, as well as more than 350 employees.
David Seymour, Senior Vice President-Integrated Operations for American Airlines said: “Having Airbus produce its world-class aircraft in the United States has simplified our delivery process. It’s an honour to take delivery of this A321 today, and we thank everyone working in this facility for producing a high quality aircraft for us.”
The manufacturer says it is planning to deliver four aircraft per month from the Mobile facility by the end of next year. The initial deliveries will all be current engine option (ceo) A320 Family aircraft, but it will begin transitioning to the new engine option (neo) derivatives in late 2017. Demonstrating its adage “The sun never sets on Airbus manufacturing” – the company’s aircraft are now being produced around the clock, 24 hours a day, at facilities in: Mobile, Alabama; Hamburg, Germany; Toulouse, France and Tianjin, China.
The first Airbus aircraft produced in the US made its maiden flight on March 21. The Airbus A321, destined for JetBlue Airways took off from the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, Alabama for a test flight, which lasted 3hrs and 26min.
The aircraft was flown by test pilots Mark McCullins and Bruce Macdonald. They were accompanied on the flight by flight test engineers Thierry Cros and Nick Picconi and ground test engineers/cabin specialists Alexander Gentzsch and Mike Johns.
Daryl Taylor, Vice President and General Manager of the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility said: “The Mobile team has worked hard, and I am proud that their skill and talent have brought us to this moment. Together we are fulfilling the promise we made to the city of Mobile, the state of Alabama, and the Gulf Coast region—we are creating a new centre of commercial aircraft production in the US. This is just the first of many aircraft to come.”
Following the maiden flight, the aircraft will go through a few more weeks in final production before being delivered to JetBlue this summer.