EasyJet will make a decision on its fleet strategy by the end of the year, according to its head of fleet and central procurement Chris Essex. Explaining the low-cost carrier's plans at its investor day on 31 January, Essex said EasyJet is "actively evaluating the re-engined Airbus Neo and Boeing 737 Max as well as the Bombardier CSeries".

The airline launched a fleet evaluation in September 2011, and is studying the "relative economics of the competing types" across their life cycles. Essex said that an increased choice of suppliers and "game-changing fuel savings promised by the new fuel technologies from CFM and Pratt & Whitney", coupled with "the attractiveness of winning an EasyJet order" would lead to "a very competitive tender".

Essex said the London Luton-based carrier's business case rested on its ability to "generate long-term benefits" and if this could not be demonstrated at the end of the evaluation, then EasyJet would continue with its "current arrangements". He said the airline intended to complete the process and make a decision during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Aircraft order backlogs would not affect any potential order, said Essex. "Our reading of the situation is that manufacturers are not selling out their delivery slots consecutively," he said, so as not to "be in a position of telling a strategic customer...actually no you can't come to us".

As a result Essex said that EasyJet felt there was still plenty of time and opportunity to negotiate and place a fleet order.

He added that another consideration would be how the airline bridged its fleet needs from 2014 through to the first availability of the new aircraft types from around 2017.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news