DUBAI: EgyptAir ponders fleet replacement decision

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While EgyptAir has nine aircraft grounded as the country's air traffic demand is still to recover to pre-crisis levels, the Star Alliance carrier is closing in on decision on new widebodies in order to secure future delivery slots.

The airline is considering ordering Airbus A350s, Boeing 787s or a combination of both. The new widebodies will need to be delivered from 2018, when EgyptAir wants to retire its A330-200s. So while no decision has yet been made, chief executive Hossam Kamal says that the orders will need to be placed soon to secure the required delivery slots.

Around 70 aircraft of the planned 127-strong fleet by 2025 will be narrowbodies. EgyptAir is studying both the 737 Max and A320neo but, again, no decision has been made how the current single-aisle fleet – comprising both present-generation aircraft families – will be replaced.

The airline is also evaluating the Bombardier CSeries and Embraer 190, as it plans to implement 100-seat regional jets in future. Today, the regional arm Egyptair Express operates 12 Embraer 170s.

Out of the current 81-stong total fleet, EgyptAir has grounded nine aircraft, including its A340s and 737-500s. EgyptAir is negotiating with other airlines to lease out the three A340-200s. Selling the type is not an option, as there is no buyer market for a 260-seat aircraft with four engines, says Kamal.