Airlines still favour newer jets than older ones despite low fuel prices

Despite the low fuel prices lately due to the coronavirus pandemic, airlines still prefer to use newer and more fuel efficient aircraft like the Airbus NEO series and the Boeing 787.

According to a report from FlightGlobal, carriers are largely favouring newer jets, including more-efficient models like Airbus A320neo-family aircraft amid the turn of events and the slow recovery of the airline industry.

As airlines have become more focused on managing costs, they get to see the full benefits of fuel-efficient aircraft and lower maintenance costs when going for newer aircraft than maintaining the older but much cheaper ones.

Even if fuel prices have gone down, airlines will not be favoring older generation aircraft as also maintenance costs come into consideration.

Airlines are putting newer and more-efficient jets “to work first” as the industry begins a slow recovery, he adds. That strategy enables carriers to recognise benefits from both improved fuel efficiency and cheaper fuel expenses, according to FlightGlobal.

Post-pandemic recovery

It may take airlines from 2 to 3 years to fully recover from the pandemic but airlines are also not discounting the fact that it is not possible for a similar crisis to happen again in the future.

Airlines see that more new and fuel efficient aircraft have their favorable effects on an airline's balance sheet even for the long run. As efficiency and proper cost management are now important to an airline's recovery, many airlines have put to storage their older fleet.

"In the first several months of this year, as the coronavirus pandemic spread globally, airlines placed some 15,000 passenger aircraft into storage, Cirium data shows.

Likewise, the in-service fleet declined from 28,000 passenger aircraft in January to about 13,000 at the end of April. Air travel demand has since inched higher, and airlines now have about 16,000 aircraft in service, according to Cirium.

Those in-service aircraft include roughly 7,540 Airbus and Boeing single-aisle aircraft (737s, A220s and A320-family aircraft), which have an average age of 8.9 years.

By comparison, the roughly 8,500 Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies in storage are 11 years old on average, data shows. Those figures include 383 737 Max in storage not due to coronavirus but to the regulatory grounding.

The same holds true for twin-engined widebodies like 767s, 777s, 787s, A330s and A350s.

The roughly 2,400 of those types now in service are about 7.5 years old on average, while the 2,150 of those jets in storage have an average age of 12 years, according to Cirium. Roughly two-thirds of all 787s and A350s – both newer-generation jets – are in service, while only one-third of 767s, a previous-generation jet, are in service."

Cebu Pacific to retire old fleet in exchange of Airbus NEO aircraft

In the Philippines, Cebu Pacific is looking to replace its older fleet of A320ceo jets with newer A320neo and A321neo aircraft. This also include replacement of their present A330-300 to A330-900neo. The plan of the airline was to operate an all-Airbus NEO fleet by 2024 to 2025 but with this CoviD-19 crisis which has taken a toll on the airline, this may have to be pushed back.

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