Bolivia's state-owned airline Boliviana de Aviación (BoA) has agreed to lease a fifth 737-300 and is seeking to add a sixth 737-300 before switching to a new aircraft type later this year.
BoA launched operations in early 2009 with two leased 737-300s and currently operates four of the type. BoA CEO Ronaldo Casso says the carrier has agreed to lease an additional 737-300 from ILFC that is expected to be delivered later this month.
He says the carrier is also now speaking to leasing companies about one more 737-300 that would be delivered in the second quarter of this year. But Casso says once BoA's 737-300 fleet reaches six aircraft it does not expect to add any more of the type and will instead switch to a newer type of aircraft.
"We are planning to receive our fifth aircraft in a few weeks. The aircraft is in the final maintenance and paint process. Another aircraft we plan to receive in May or June," Casso tells ATI and Flightglobal.
"After that we will look for another type of aircraft, probably late this year. We are studying and are working the analysis."
Casso says the analysis includes various Airbus, Boeing and Embraer models. For now he says no other manufacturers are included in BoA's evaluation.
Casso says the new aircraft type or types selected will be used to replace BoA's 737-300s and for growth. He says it is possible two aircraft types will be acquired as BoA is looking at potentially Boeing 767s along with new narrowbody aircraft.
"At this moment we are studying and looking at both options [narrowbody and widebody] but don't have a decision yet," Casso adds.
He says the widebody aircraft would initially be used to operate some routes within Latin America but later could be used to launch services to Spain and the USA. BoA currently serves Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo and is studying several potential new destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
"The technical conditions to operate to Spain and the USA have some conditions related to operational experience. We need to operate 767s for one year in Latin America to apply to operate to Spain or the States," Casso explains.
BoA's four 737-300s are used to operate 22 flights per day to six Bolivian destinations as well as six weekly flights to Buenos Aires and three weekly flights to Sao Paulo. The two 737-300s being added this year will be used to add capacity in both the domestic and international markets.
Casso says BoA's existing 737-300s will start to be replaced in 2012, when one of its first 737-300s is coming off lease. The last 737-300 will likely be replaced in 2015 as the two 737-300s BoA plans to add this year will be on three-year leases.
He says BoA already leases one 737-300 from ILFC and the other three aircraft in its current fleet are leased from AerCap, AWAS and Orix. All the leases are for 36 to 60 months.