Aeromexico to own two-thirds of fleet after Boeing order commitment

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Aeromexico expects to own about two-thirds of its fleet in coming years upon taking delivery of the up to 100 new Boeing aircraft it committed to purchase in a deal announced today.

The SkyTeam carrier's chief executive Andres Conesa says that about 25% of the airline's fleet is owned, in an earnings call today. "In the next few years, with the new order, two-thirds of our fleet will be owned by us," he adds.

Aeromexico announced today a letter of intent to purchase up to 100 new Boeing aircraft, comprising 90 737-8 Maxs and 10 787-9s, in a deal worth about $11 billion if finalised.

It is not clear yet how many of the aircraft are options, and Aeromexico was not immediately able to confirm the numbers.

In addition to the commitment, Aeromexico also has existing orders for 10 Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft and nine 787-8s. The airline confirms that it plans to lease another two 787-8s that will take its planned 787-8 fleet size to nine.

The first 787-8 will arrive in the summer of 2013, says Aeromexico today. Conesa says the first 737-8 Max will be delivered in the first quarter of 2018, less than a year after it first enters into service in 2017. The first 787-9 will be delivered by the end of this decade.

Saying that Aeromexico has "premium positions" for the aircraft deliveries, Conesa adds: "This is very, very good, considering that our 737s started flying in Mexico 10 years after they started flying in other parts of the world."

The new aircraft will help place Aeromexico among the world's most productive airlines, says Conesa, who adds that the prices offered by Boeing were "very attractive".

"Not everyone can be offered this fleet size. You need to have a strong balance sheet," Conesa says. He adds that the first pre-delivery payment of about $40 million will be made by end-2012 and funded on balance sheet out of the airline's cash. The carrier has the flexibility to use cash or go into the market to look for funding of the remaining payments, he says.