Aerolineas and Austral to sell MD-80 fleet

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Aerolineas Argentinas and domestic subsidiary Austral are in the market to sell their last Boeing MD-80 fleet powered by JT8D-219 engines.

The carriers are conducting an open bidding process to sell a total of seven MD-80s, which are currently parked at different airports in Argentina.

According to the tender, Austral's fleet includes a 1988-vintage MD-81 aircraft (MSN 48025), along with two 1989-vintage MD-83 aircraft (MSNs 49630 and 49784) and two 1990-vintage MD-83 aircraft (MSNs 49906 and 49934).

The Aerolineas Argentinas fleet includes a 1992-vintage MD-83 aircraft (MSN 53117) and a MD-88 (MSN 53049), also built in 1992.

Bids are due by 11 March, 2013.

The SkyTeam member took the first steps in 2010 to update its shorthaul and medium haul fleets with the Embraer 190 model. A year later Aerolineas signed a five-year agreement with ILFC to lease 10 Boeing 737-700s as part of its 2010-14 business plan to replace Boeing 737 Classics as well as MD-80s. Since then, it has added -700s from GECAS and leased -800s from AWAS and Macquarie AirFinance.

The carrier's vice-president of fleet, Sergio Garcia Gomez, told Flightglobal earlier this year that Aerolineas expects to finalise agreements with lessors on 13 to 15 737-800s, including six aircraft that will be delivered in 2013. These remaining aircraft will be delivered through 2016.

Its fleet now comprises 26 737-700s and -800s, as well as 11 A340-200/300s. and 20 E-190s. In addition to the six -800s joining its operating fleet this year, Aerolineas will add four Airbus A330-200s and two A340-300s. In the meantime it will also retire two A340-300s and five 737 Classics that are in storage.