Aer Lingus has defined what now looks like the final version of its long-haul fleet strategy. The airline plans to take delivery of a mix of Airbus A350-900s and -900 regionals between 2018 and 2020, which represents a delay of up to 3 years compared to earlier scenarios.
The carrier’s widebody planning has undergone several iterations. At some stage, Aer Lingus had ordered a mix of A330s and A350s before switching to the new model entirely.
In an earlier agreement, Aer Lingus and Airbus had settled on initial A350 deliveries in 2015. But CEO Christoph Mueller said the two sides have spent months to negotiate a new schedule, which now sees the first aircraft arriving 3 years later. The airline’s order is for 9 A350-900s.
Mueller did not elaborate on why the changes were made. However, Airbus is keen to accommodate the needs of larger customers as soon as possible, whereas Aer Lingus has a relatively young fleet of A330s. Mueller has also said in the past that the A350 range capabilities are more than what the airline needs, therefore the interest in at least an A350 regional subfleet. Most of its North American destinations are on the East Coast, but the airline is adding new services to Toronto and San Francisco in the summer.
Based on the article “Aer Lingus defines future long-haul fleet, launches cost-cutting measures” published in ATW