Montreal-based Air Transat has chosen the Airbus A321NEO LR (long range) to replace its aging fleet of nine Airbus A310s.

Down from an original fleet of 14, the first of Air Transat’s current nine A310s was delivered to Air Transat is 2000, after originally being delivered to Emirates in 1992. While the A310 still operates as a cargo aircraft for a couple of airlines, Air Transat is the last airline in the western hemisphere to operate it in its passenger configuration.

The ten A321NEO LR aircraft will be leased from leasing giant AerCap, with the first being put into service in 2019. The A321s are expected to seat 200 people compared to the A310’s 250 person capacity.

Air Transat currently uses its A310s on routes from Montreal and Toronto to Europe and the Caribbean, as well as Vancouver to the Caribbean. A321 NEO LR has a published range of 4,000 nautical miles, or enough to reach any of its European destinations from Montreal. Typically, the A310s are deployed to European destinations in the summer, and Caribbean destinations in the winter.

An Air Transat Airbus A310 pictured landing in Montreal. Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Patrick Cardinal

While the A310s do have updated interiors with seat-back personal entertainment screens at every seat, the A310 burns much more fuel than the majority of other aircraft capable of fitting Ar Transat’s needs.

The low operating cost of the A321NEO allows Air Transat to have the flexibility of operating it on short or medium routes. The current A310 is optimized as a longer range aircraft and has lowest costs per available seat mile (CASM) on longer routes. The A321NEO will be cheap to operate on both short and medium haul routes.

The A321NEO also represents a potential path to an all Airbus fleet for Air Transat, which currently operates a mix of 737, A310, and A330 aircraft. Another order for the A320NEO could come further down the road to replace the current fleet of 737-800s.

Featured photo by Airbus.

Categories: Industry Talk