By Charlotte Seet
Aviation Capital Group Ends the Year with Aircraft Deliveries and Orders
With approximately 400 aircraft in its inventory being leased to an estimated 90 airlines worldwide, Aviation Capital Group remains one of the world’s most premier full-service aircraft lessors as the company ends this year with a couple of deliveries.
On Dec. 30, Aviation Capital Group delivered not just one, but two brand-new aircraft to different airlines. The first delivery was an Airbus A321neo aircraft on long-term lease to STARLUX Airlines – a Taiwan-based luxury boutique airline that currently operates a sole fleet of A321neos for use within the Southeast and Northeast Asia region.
This delivery marked the first of three new A321neo aircraft that are confirmed to be delivered to STARLUX from the lessor’s order book with Airbus and is proudly featuring the CFM International LEAP-1A30 engines. “We are extremely excited to deliver this A321neo to STARLUX Airlines,” said Tom Baker, CEO, and President of ACG in a press release. “We look forward to STARLUX operating this highly fuel-efficient aircraft in their growing route network.”
And as for the second delivery made, it features one new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines. Coming from an aircraft lessor, it makes considerable sense that this aircraft is also on long-term lease to the TUI Group as part of an ongoing multi-aircraft transaction between these two parties. The 737 MAX aircraft was chosen by the TUI Group for its cost-saving and emission-efficient features, which corresponds with the Group’s initiative on modernizing its Europe-wide aircraft fleet to be more economical and environmentally friendly.
Besides the last deliveries for the year, Aviation Group Capital has also been busy committing to some last-minute orders with Toulouse-based manufacturing Airbus. With a vision to grow its fleet in the coming years, the aircraft lessor company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus for 20 A220s and an additional firm contract for 40 A320neo Family aircraft, of which five are A321XLRs – the anticipated aircraft that could possibly reshape the long-haul market for narrow-bodied aircraft.
“We are delighted to expand our portfolio with additional A220 and A320neo Family aircraft. These highly advanced aircraft will enhance ACG’s strategic objective to offer our airline customers the most modern and fuel-efficient aircraft available,” said Baker in a statement.
Prior to this year-ending agreement, Aviation Capital Group already had close to 40 firm commitments with Airbus, and an additional 17 with Chicago-based Boeing. As though the difference in firm commitments wasn’t big enough, this newest agreement will now take the numbers with Airbus to 99.
“The order is another gratifying endorsement of our single-aisle products by one of the world’s premier aircraft asset managers, ACG and the Tokyo Century Group. It also forcefully confirms the A220 as a growingly desirable aircraft and investment in the commercial aviation landscape. We congratulate and thank ACG for its decision to select both, the A220 and A320neo Families,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.
Just a while before the agreement with Aviation Capital Group, another aircraft lessor company had bagged another huge order and this came from Air Lease Corporation, adding an additional 116 aircraft to its Airbus order book. And when these order books are paired with the newly-launched A350F, which itself has already attracted several orders from major airlines and aircraft lessors, it is quite safe to say that Airbus has been on the good ends despite an extremely turbulent past couple of years.
Whilst Airbus is certainly reeling in the goods as opposed to fellow rival Boeing, whose been riding on bumpier roads with fewer orders and nagging problems with its 787 Dreamliner productions, causing an additional delay to its undelivered and unfulfilled backlogs – a potential problem that could occur for Airbus as well.
In the middle of this year, Airbus has unfortunately gotten into a rift with one of its biggest airline customers Qatar Airways over surface paint degradation issues that were affecting other airline customers as well such as Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Lufthansa, and Air France – a rift which has just recently been taken to court. Fortunately, Airbus and the affected airlines maintain that the paint issue does not affect the overall safety integrity of the A350, but it could be shedding some light on either a potential paint problem or even a potential manufacturing flaw.
Whatever it is, it doesn’t take away the fact that this year has indeed been a splendid one for Airbus especially and the manufacturer definitely has the world actively anticipating for its supposed game-changers such as the A321XLR and the A350F in the coming years.