Vueling fleet renewal order due by March

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Vueling's evaluation of Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier single-aisles should be concluded by the end of March.

The Spanish low-cost carrier, which currently operates 59 A320 family aircraft, is examining the re-engined Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max as well as the Bombardier CSeries to replace its fleet. "We're looking to order a similar number to our current fleet," said chief executive Alex Cruz, speaking on the sidelines of the Airline Business World Air Forum conference in Amsterdam.

"We aim to place an order by the end of the winter season, which is in March."

The largest CSeries variant, the CS300, has 160 seats in a low-cost airline configuration and is smaller than the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max 8 being evaluated, but Cruz says the Bombardier twinjet is included due to its performance and the deal on offer.

Vueling operates three 150-seat A319s, but the bulk of its fleet are 180-seat A320s and Cruz says it's a pity Bombardier isn't able to offer a larger CSeries. "A 180-seater would be great," he says.

This means that Vueling has to evaluate how the CSeries would fit in its fleet and whether it might have to split the order. "Fleet cost is the most important part of the evaluation, so we'd really want to operate a single type," Cruz says.