Frontier looking for used A320s to expand fleet

Los Angeles
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Frontier Airlines is looking to acquire used Airbus A320s to expand its fleet while it waits for its first A320neos in 2016.

The Denver-based low-cost carrier will add a used leased A320 to its fleet by the end of August and continues to look for additional one-off lease deals for aircraft, says Andrea Blankenship, director of sales at Frontier, on the sidelines of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) annual convention in Los Angeles.

“There’s huge demand for them right now,” she says on the A320. “They’re hard to find.”

Blankenship could not name the lessor of the incoming aircraft, however Frontier has existing relationships with most major lessors. AWAS, AerCap, Avolon, BOC Aviation, CIT Aerospace, GECAS and SMBC Aviation Capital all have aircraft on lease to the airline, Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows.

Frontier prefers the A320 over the A319 due to its larger size, which results in lower per-seat costs, says Blankenship.

The airline configures its A319s with 138 seats and its A320s with 168 seats.

Frontier is likely to use any additional A320s to expand. It began building up a focus city at Cleveland Hopkins International airport in June and will begin building one at Washington Dulles International in August, in addition to expansions at smaller airports like Trenton Mercer County in New Jersey and Wilmington in Delaware.

However, the carrier could use some additional aircraft to replace those with expiring leases. The leases on two A319s and one A320 are scheduled expire by the end of 2014, and leases on another two A319s and one A320 will expire in 2015, Ascend shows. It could also extend the leases.

Frontier operates 35 A319s and 20 A320s, and has firm orders for 18 A319neos and 62 A320neos, Ascend shows.