The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the game for airlines, putting pressure on well established business models and causing operators to rethink how they run their businesses. One of the ways long-haul operators are planning to respond is fleet downsizing, which will enable them to both reduce operating costs per seat while maintaining an appropriate level of flight frequency. It also meets evolving passenger demands, as point-to-point continues to become the new normal.
Downsizing is far from a new trend, or intrinsically associated with the pandemic. Instead, operators have been adjusting their fleets and moving towards smaller long-haul aircraft for some years now.
As operators make some of their most challenging financial and operational decisions, there will be much to consider. Making the right choices will open the door to greater financial efficiency, fleet flexibility and business agility by becoming better able to open new routes and meet changing demand as it happens. Smart operators today are looking at aircraft like the Airbus A330 to reshape fleets and bring greater financial certainty into their businesses.
Here are four ways the A330 can help you do just this.
- Save costs: In the simplest terms, airlines have to be more cost-conscious than ever before during the coming months. With potential restrictions on passenger numbers on long-haul and social distancing, operating costs per seat will be front of mind for many. The A330 is not only suited to medium- and long-haul routes, but its twin engines use less fuel than the quad jets that have been a part of recent long-haul flying. For example, Iberia Airlines has retired its A340s and is using its existing A330s and A350s to manage those routes.
- Gain flexibility: Experts predict that the commercial flight market will see domestic/short-haul flights bounce back faster than international travel. Airlines can cater to this demand by employing a smaller aircraft like the A330 that can adapt to changing conditions, serving both short- and long-haul journeys when required. Aerolineas Argentinas has replaced larger aircraft with the A330 which is set to cover trips to both international destinations and neighbouring countries which is made possible by the A330’s versatility.
- Reduce training time: The interoperability and cockpit commonality of the Airbus A330 means it can be quickly integrated into any operation. For crew, engineers and pilots who have already worked with other Airbus models, the A330 is a familiar experience. This will allow airlines to enter new markets sooner and help them outpace competitors in the race to get fleets off the ground and see a return on their investment sooner.
- Proven Results: Both the A330-200 and A330-300 offer competitive value to operators. The A330-200 has an operational efficiency of 99.4%, a credit to the A330’s design. With lower operating costs per seat and current competitive lease rates, used A330s are the most cost-efficient and profitable aircraft in comparison to other similar sized aircraft.
While demand is expected to recover, the longer it takes to do so, the more financial pressure increases for airlines – requiring more radical actions in response. Decisions as to the size and number of aircraft a carrier will operate ultimately drive all other choices it must make about its business plan going forward.
International carriers, operating with large numbers of aircraft in storage and, in many cases, the wrong sized aircraft in service, are rapidly approaching critical decision points about their next destination.
About Destination Next
Destination Next is a campaign to raise awareness of the A330-200/300s’ unique ability to meet the challenges of aviation today. The campaigned is founded in the belief that this aircraft can help airlines and cargo operators find cost reduction and revenue growth opportunities, even in a post-pandemic world.
This campaign is supported by a group of aircraft owners, OEMs and other industry stakeholders. The Destination Next Supporters and Partners are listed below:
– Air Partner plc
– BBAM Aircraft Leasing & Management
– Deucalion Aviation
– FPG Amentum
– Global Knafaim Leasing Ltd
– Lufthansa Technik
– Orix Aviation
– Rolls-Royce & Partners Finance Ltd
– Rolls-Royce plc
– Seraph Aviation Group
– SGI Aviation