Spanair to start phasing out MD-80s in August

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Spanair will start phasing out its remaining Boeing MD-80s in August as the Spanish carrier aims to become an all-Airbus operator by the end of the winter season.

The carrier operates a 31-aircraft fleet including 19 Airbus A320s, five A321s and seven MD-80s.

According to Flightglobal's Ascend database, three MD-87s are on operating leases from SAS, along with one MD-82 and one MD-83. One MD-83 is owned by Spanair while the remaining MD-83 is owned by Uninter Leasing.

The carrier's strategic planning director Jim Paton confirmed that Spanair will have an all-Airbus narrowbody fleet by April 2012. "The first of these retirements takes place in early August," he said.

"At the moment, we are in the process of finalising our plans for replacement or additional aircraft. It is likely that this will include a mix of narrowbody and widebody aircraft which will enter the fleet from 2012, and will most likely be leased," he added.

Spanair will concentrate on plans to develop a long-haul operation with leased widebody aircraft. Last November, Spanair said it hoped to develop long-haul services from Barcelona with an Airbus A330-200 fleet.

According to Spanish financial newspaper Expansion, the long-haul operation heavily depends on the carrier's ability to raise €150 million ($216.9 million) in new funds.

"We are currently engaged in discussions with potential partners and investors to secure the necessary financial backing for the development of our future network. This is work in progress," said Paton.