EgyptAir is set to sell its entire fleet of 12 Airbus A220-300 aircraft to aircraft leasing company Azorra. The move is expected to provide a substantial cash injection for the airline, as all 12 aircraft are owned outright by EgyptAir.
According to simpleflying.com, This strategic decision to offload the A220s aligns with the airline’s efforts to optimize its fleet and financial position amid the dynamic landscape of the aviation industry.
Young fleet of A220s
EgyptAir’s fleet of Airbus A220-300 aircraft is relatively young, with ch-aviation data showing that, on average, the subtype fleet is 4.1 years old. Airbus delivered the most recent A220 in September 2020, having delivered the airline’s first aircraft of the type exactly a year prior.
According to a report by aviation analytics company Cirium, the transaction was part of EgyptAir’s fleet transformation, and the phasing out of its A220s will enable the carrier to acquire new Airbus widebody aircraft. Meanwhile, John Evans, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Azorra, said that the lessor’s strong partnerships with Airbus and Pratt & Whitney, the supplier of the PW1500G engine, the exclusive option for the A220 family, have been critical to facilitating the transaction.
Evans added that the aircraft are young and well-maintained and have freshly overhauled engines, which were also updated by the aircraft manufacturer. Furthermore, the CEO noted that the aircraft have strong demand in the market, making them attractive to Azorra’s growing airline customer base. Currently, the aircraft lessor manages a fleet of 95 aircraft, six of which are Airbus A220-300s.
In January 2022, Azorra ordered 22 Airbus A220 aircraft, split between 20 A220-300 and two Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) 220s. At the time, Evans remarked that the A220 was ideally suited for the lessor’s growing portfolio and that the company was excited to place the aircraft with airlines in due time. According to Airbus Orders & Deliveries filings, the manufacturer has not delivered any A220s yet as of December 31, 2023.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer delivered all 12 Airbus A220-300s to EgyptAir between September 2019 and September 2020. Over the past few months, the airline has continued to reduce the number of one-way flights that its A220-300s were scheduled to operate. In December 2021, the airline had scheduled 1,149 flights with the type, its busiest month with the A220-300 since its first delivery, according to data by the aviation analytics company Cirium.
However, the airline had continuously wound down the number of flights it would operate with the type. In December 2023, January 2024, and February 2024, EgyptAir scheduled 484, 502, and 400 flights with the A220-300, respectively. Between April 2024 and September 2024, the type has fewer than 100 itineraries.
While the Airbus A220-300, powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G, has not suffered from the same issues as the PW1100G, which has forced many airlines operating the Airbus A320neo family aircraft to ground their aircraft, A220-300 operators have also struggled with the engine.
airBaltic has been at the forefront of the issues, with the Latvian airline continuously expressing frustrations with the availability and maintenance delays related to the engine. However, these issues have also affected other operators, including EgyptAir.