ALTA: Aeromexico likely to convert Boeing options

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Aeromexico is likely to convert the 30 Boeing 737 Max options it has as part of an order it announced in July, as the SkyTeam carrier cites strength in the Mexican market.

The airline's chief executive Andres Conesa tells Flightglobal that it does not have to make a decision on the options now but that the carrier will likely take the full order. "It will depend on how the economy moves in the next few years," he says.

Aeromexico firmed up the order in November, for the purchase of 60 737 Max aircraft with 30 options. It also plans to order six 787-9s, with four options. The 787-9 order has not been firmed up yet. Aeromexico also has existing orders for nine 787-8s.

Conesa says the airline has not decided if it will take Max 8s or 9s, but is likely to have more Max 9s. "We will probably go with the larger plane," he adds. Aeromexico now operates 737-700s and -800s but not the 900s, which does not have the range that the carrier needs. "The Max 9 will have the range, and can fulfill the mission of the -800s," he says. Aeromexico is expecting its first 737 Max in 2017, the year which the aircraft will enter into service.

The airline's first 787-8 will be delivered in June 2013, and Conesa expects it to enter into service on the airline's flights to London in the summer. Other 787 destinations include Paris, Tokyo Narita, Santiago and Buenos Aires, says Conesa. The carrier will take delivery of three 787-8s in 2013.

Aeromexico will use the 787s to replace its 767s, which it plans to phase out of the fleet by 2015. It is also phasing out 40 Embraer 145s from its Aeromexico Connect fleet, and replacing them with the larger Embraer E-jet family.

The airline is looking to own more of its fleet in the next five years, says Conesa. It operates 117 aircraft, of which 100 are leased. "In the medium term, we hope to move to a 50-50 ratio," he says.

Looking further ahead, the carrier will be keen on the re-engined E-Jet that Embraer is proposing, says Conesa. The airline expects to make a decision on that by the end of the decade.