LONDON – The announcement of the new Italian flag carrier ITA for the leasing of 31 new-generation aircraft and the intended purchase of 28 all-Airbus aircraft went unsurprisingly unnoticed.
The 31 long-term leased aircraft from Air Lease Corporation (ALC) – 15 A220s, 2 A320neos, 9 A321neos, and 5 A330-900neos – will be delivered starting in 2022.
While the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Airbus SA would cover 28 aircraft to be delivered once the business plan is completed around 2025.
To be specific, the MoU includes 10 Airbus A330neo aircraft, 7 Airbus A220 jets, and 11 Airbus A320neos.
ALC reports that ITA will lease a total of 56 new Airbus aircraft over the course of the plan: 13 long-haul jets, including the ultra-modern Airbus A350-900, and 43 short and medium-haul aircraft, but it is still unclear who will be the lessors.
At the end of the fair, ITA will have a fleet of 84 new aircraft (ALC, 2021).
Questions About The Development
The airline is expected to begin operations on October 15, but the new course is still full of questions.
From the perspective of an ultra-competitive market, it’s clear that 31 leased aircraft (additional 25 aircraft not yet confirmed) and 28 purchased aren’t at all sufficient to generate profits for a national airline that fully relies on the FSC model (other models haven’t been considered).
According to the latest news, ITA is expected to start operating with an undersized fleet of 52 aircraft: 7 A330-200s, 44 A319/A320s, and 1 Embraer E190 (which would justify the preservation of Alitalia CityLiner Spa *Update 10/10/2021 , according to Alitalia’s CEO Fabio Lazzerini all Embraers will be removed).
The average age of the initial ITA fleet would be almost 13 years, which is a completely acceptable figure (the average age is 12.4 years at Lufthansa and Air France-KLM).
However, in line with ITA’s statements, in 2025 the fleet will be 80 percent of the new generation, id est, remaining on the figure of the initial 52 aircraft, more than 40 would be replaced, out of 84 almost 70 aircraft.
It’s likely that the plan considers a longer life cycle for the more recent A319-111 and A320-216 jets in service, but the storage of the -112 and -214 versions delivered in the early 2000s.