By Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Main South American Carriers Modernize Their Fleets
With the goal of bettering passenger comfort as they compete for supremacy in South America, LATAM and Avianca have announced significant upcoming changes in their fleets, which range from the incorporation of new aircraft to the modernization of their cabins.
The LATAM Group presented to a U.S. court an agreement with Airbus for the purchase of 28 new aircraft in addition to the 42 narrowbodies already agreed for as part of the plan to modernize and increase the efficiency of its fleet for the coming years.
In a press release, the group announced that this order, which totals 70 aircraft, maintains the LATAM Group’s fleet as the largest in Latin America, with greater range and capacity than its competitors.
The integration of aircraft of the A320neo family implies more efficient engines, aerodynamic improvements and the latest technologies that provide 20% more efficiency in fuel consumption compared to previous A320 aircraft. As such, it will also yield lower carbon dioxide emissions together with a 50% reduction in oxide emissions nitrogen and 50% of the acoustic footprint.
With the signing of this agreement, the group aims to strengthen its operations in all its subsidiaries at the regional level with a modern fleet and maximum efficiency in environmental matters, one of the pillars of its sustainability strategy.
In turn, it seeks to consolidate the widest range of destinations in and from Latin America and the Caribbean, hand in hand with the connectivity agreements with Delta, currently under review by various regulatory authorities in the countries where the group operates.
Avianca is accelerating the interior reconfiguration of its aircraft, as it aims to offer more differentiation between service classes and add more seats to its existing aircraft.
In a press release, the Colombian carrier stated that with this project, 20% more seats per plane will be put on sale and the efficiency increase that this represents will be permanently reflected in lower prices.
The configuration of the existing fleet of A320 aircraft will be changed and additional aircraft will also be incorporated that will also gradually be reconfigured.
The first of these aircraft will begin operating the first week of August and will fly only on domestic routes in Colombia.
It is important to highlight that these additional aircraft do not yet have the final adjustments of the cabins. In some cases, they also have differences with the current look and feel.
The airline expects that the transformation of the cabins, both for the incoming and existing aircraft, will be completed by the end of 2022.
In the meantime, it will operate, temporarily, with cabin configurations different from the current ones, both in number of seats, space and design.
While the interior of the aircraft is homologated, business class travelers may find themselves with a configuration similar to the so-called European business class with the middle seat blocked in lieu of a typical business class.
Today, Avianca operates 100 routes, with more than 1,300 weekly frequencies that represent more than 370 thousand seats a week in all markets.