Here are some additional comments from airlines that responded to Airline Business’ narrowbody survey:


Aegean Air chief operating officer Antonis Simigdalas: “A 10% increase in list price is translated into merely an average of 0.5-1% per year in overall costs. If any increase in list price matches a corresponding decrease in DOC [direct operating costs], percentage wise, personally I’d take it any date of the week.”


Mexicana executive vice-president corporate planning and fleet transactions Ricardo Baston: “When the aircraft is launched it will certainly be a fight to get early delivery slots.”


Air Deccan chief operating officer Warwick Brady: “We would change from the present A320 depending upon the product – lighter more fuel efficient, and of course more cost competitive prices.”


AirAsia contracts and development manager Anaz Ahmad Tajuddin: “For a start, it should be much more fuel efficient than the current generation as AirAsia is a low-cost airline. Naturally, keeping the cost down is our main objective. Maintenance cost should also be relatively lower than the current one.”


Air New Zealand general development strategic development Nathan Agnew: “At this stage we’re taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to performance specifications and launch dates of both Airbus and Boeing new-gen narrowbodies. If new-gen products only deliver small benefits we’ll retain our current fleets, and can comfortably do so until 2017-2018.  However if we’re reasonably confident either of these products can perform the mission significantly better than our current 737s and A320s we’ll be much more likely to buy in this generation of aircraft. Anything less than about a 10% whole-of-life saving would seem relatively light.  This requires either significant operating economies - where it’s hard to see engines or maintenance alone getting there - or the manufacturers sharpening their pencils on pricing.  Significant reductions in emissions and noise will be mandatory.  We’d also like to see an aircraft optimised around the one to two hour sector length, while it seems the manufacturers are focusing more on the three to five hour sector.” 


Comair executive manager of route development and engineering Glenda Zvenyika: “The premium [manufacturers charge for the new narrowbodies] should be slightly more as it is newer technology, however the value can’t be specified as yet. The current premium is as a result of today’s buoyant travel market where the demand for aircraft outweighs the supply.”


EasyJet chief executive Andrew Harrison: “The challenge the airline industry faces if it wants to continue growing is to manage emissions. Thus the next generation of narrowbody aircraft must offer significant emissions savings (fuel) – one must question the validity of the multi-billion dollar investment the next generation of narrowbody will require for anything less than a 1/3 fuel saving.”


US Airways vice-president financial analysis Dion Flannery: “We’re in the heat of it [narrowbody replacement exercise] right now. We’re regularly talking to both manufacturers on the narrowbody side”


Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa: “Aeromexico would be in position to replace its 737 fleet around 2021 when the oldest 737 will be reaching 20 years old”


Finnair Aircraft Finance managing direcdtor Colin Molloy: “We don’t have to replace ours as we have one of the youngest A320 fleets. In eight years we may possibly start to look at it. My suspicion is it will be the end of the next decade, when I’ll be well into my pension fund.”


All Nippon Airways (which declined to participate in the survey, explaining it has just begun taking delivery of 45 737-700s): “In a few years we’ll start to look at the next-next generation but for the moment we have not started to examine the question.”


Source: Airline Business