budget carrier EasyJet has
invited offers for seven ex-GB Airways Airbus A321s as it seeks to simplify its
fleet and control its growth rate.
Luton-headquartered EasyJet acquired former
British Airways franchise carrier GB Airways in January, widening the scope of
its fleet to include A320s and A321s. The carrier’s fleet currently comprises
30 Boeing 737-700s, 112 A319s, nine A320s and five A321s.
May EasyJet said it was
planning to accelerate both the phase-out of its
remaining Boeing 737s and the rationalisation of its expensive GB Airways sub-fleet. The budget carrier expects these moves to cut
€40 million ($62 million) from its cost base by September 2011.
to ATI during a media briefing in Luton, EasyJet head of investor relations Rachel Kentleton said a request for
proposals covering the sale of its seven owned A321s has been issued and the
results will soon be known. “Either way, by Farnborough [air show] we will know
what we are doing,” she says.
GB Airways former fleet is configured differently to EasyJet’s own aircraft, which
have a wider aisle for quick turnarounds and are equipped with an alternative
engine selection. Kentleton
says the disposal forms part of EasyJet’s tactical growth rate reduction going into
EasyJet strategic planning manager Hal Calamvokis
says five of the A321s are in service and the remaining two are on order. He
adds that the undelivered aircraft will most likely join EasyJet’s fleet for a few months before being
transferred to new owners.
A third undelivered A321, scheduled to arrive in 2009, has
been excluded from the initial package, says Calamvokis.
He adds that GB Airways’ leased A320s are also going. Four are slated to leave EasyJet’s fleet next spring,
followed by a further five in spring 2010.
Despite the aircraft disposals, EasyJet is still considering converting some of its
A319 orders to the larger A320, although timings and numbers are yet to be
spokesman says: “The decision has been taken in principle, because having the
GB Airways fleet has shown that it’s useful to have a second gauge.”
EasyJet’s A319s are equipped to perform high frequency services,
rather than longer range missions, meaning that GB Airways’ longer routes would
fall outside of their operational range.
The budget carrier will decide this winter whether to continue with these destinations, which include Sharm
el-Sheikh, north Africa and
Islands. EasyJet will need either
its own or the former GB Airways A320s to operate the services.
Calamvokis says: “GB
Airways has allowed us to experiment on that kind of route and we will make a
decision on route performance in light of the current climate.”