Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) signed (12-Jul-2012) a MoU for five A320neo and five A321neo aircraft plus eight options. MEA will announce its engine choice at a later date. MEA chairman-director general Mohamad El Hout said, “MEA is focused on continuing to grow and improving its profitability at the same time as offering its passengers a very luxurious service. Adding the A320neo to our fleet means we can achieve all of these goals while benefitting from a 15 percent fuel saving and cost effectiveness.” The carrier currently has a fleet of four A330-200s, four A321s and nine A320s. [more - original PR]
Middle East Airlines orders 10 A320neo family aircraft
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The AirAsia Group is accelerating expansion in 2017 after deciding to lease 15 additional A320ceos which were not previously in its fleet plan. AirAsia now plans to take delivery of 32 A320s in 2017 (11 A320neos and 21 A320ceos) while returning three aircraft, for a net gain of 29 aircraft, marking its biggest expansion since 2013.
The AirAsia Group took delivery of only 10 aircraft in 2016 and originally was planning to take delivery of just 10 aircraft again in 2017. It initially slowed its fleet growth in 2015, with four deliveries, after several years of rapid double digit fleet expansion.
The AirAsia Group’s active fleet grew by only two aircraft in 2016 and shrank by two aircraft in 2015, when aircraft sales, leases outside the group and lease returns are taken into account. Fleet growth peaked in 2013 with 36 aircraft, before initially slowing to 18 aircraft in 2014 as market conditions became more challenging.
Alaska Air Group ups merger synergy targets as the margins for 2017 compress
Alaska Air Group has revised projected synergies from its merger with Virgin America upwards in both costs and revenue as it leverages the power of a larger network with a broader footprint in California, and uses the combined fleet to maximise profitability on transcontinental routes by placing higher gauge aircraft in those markets.
The existing Airbus narrowbodies operated by Virgin America will remain in the combined airline’s fleet for the foreseeable future. As a result, those aircraft are being reconfigured to offer standard interiors, including Alaska’s first class seat.
Similarly to Virgin America prior to the merger, Alaska has decided that a lie flat seat offering does not fit into its strategy in the contested US transcontinental market. In fact, choosing not to develop a lie flat product could put Alaska in a more favourable position when an (inevitable) economic down cycle occurs.
Despite the more favourable synergy estimates, Alaska will face some margin pressure due to Virgin America’s overall lower margin business. However, even though its margins are likely to drop in 2017, Alaska is stressing that its pretax margin performance will best the industry average.