Price alone will determine Vueling fleet order: Cruz

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Financial considerations alone will dictate Vueling's fleet renewal decision, chief executive Alex Cruz tells Flightglobal.

The Barcelona-based low-cost carrier is in the market for around 60 new narrowbodies, and has been considering the Airbus's A320neo, Boeing's 737 Max and Bombardier's CSeries airliner.

"In terms of the criteria for selection of aircraft manufacturer, it's quite easy: it's the cheapest," says Cruz. "There is no emotion behind the selection of one particular manufacturer or the others."

The airline will select "the best offer, all-included", adds Cruz, and "the main criteria is price".

Cruz says he has had long discussions with Vueling pilots on "what it would mean to go from Airbus to Boeing, or to another manufacturer". His conclusion is that "what matters is that we're flying new aircraft [and] the latest technology... in the most cost-efficient platform we can find".

Vueling's procurement process has been unaffected by its takeover by IAG, says Cruz. The conditions and delivery slots Vueling has been offered therefore still apply.

IAG last month upped its stake in Vueling to 90.5%, and it is targeting full ownership by year-end.

With offers in from the three manufacturers, Vueling must now "go through the motions necessary in order to have the IAG approval process completed". Cruz says he hopes to announce the decision "sooner rather than later".

Vueling has an all-leased, 70-strong inventory of A320-family jets. As part of the fleet renewal process, the airline aims to eliminate the premiums it pays under lease deals, or at least reduce them via new sale-and-leaseback arrangements.