Toulouse had a distinctly orange tinge today when Luton Airport's favourite child celebrated the delivery of its 200th Airbus, which sort of also brings the EasyJet fleet to the double-century mark.
I say "sort of" because like all sensible LCC fundamentalists, the EZY fleet is in a constant state of flux. As new aircraft arrive, old ones (ie those that are more than around eight years of age) are disposed of.
But whatever the actual fleet count is today, chief executive Carolyn McCall (pictured above with Airbus supersalesman John Leahy (left) and easyJet head of fleet and procurement Chris Essex (right)) proudly declared that at the grand of age of 15, EasyJet is the youngest airline to ever reach the 200-Airbus-deliveries milestone.
Although EasyJet still has two 737-700s in service (they should be gone by next Summer), the first batch of Airbuses have already being retired. These comprise five A319s delivered around eight years ago on operating lease, and are now going through maintenance ahead of being returned to their lessors.
EasyJet's 200th Airbus is an A320 painted in a special reversed-out colour orange fuselage/white letters scheme as flamboyant as the Braniff liveries of old. The EZY200 delivery flight from Toulouse to Gatwick - with the roaming @MaABed aboard - was operated (via Orly) this afternoon (our flighdeck and cabin crew are pictured above with their boss Carolyn).
So easyJet has now got "about" 200 aircraft and Carolyn tells me that by the end of its current financial year (on 30 September) the fleet will number 204 aircraft (202 Airbuses and those last two 737-700s).
But how that fleet will then grow is the subject of much scrutiny in easyLand Luton at the moment. While the airline's original plan was to grow capacity at 7% a year, with so many uncertainties, such as the fuel price and the economic health of Europe, it is taking a tentative view towards the near-term. "It's all work in progress", says Carolyn, so watch this space!
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