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Aer Lingus signals more A330s and studies 'A321XLR'

Aer Lingus has outlined a five-year long-haul fleet plan which increases its net number of twin-aisle aircraft by three – from 13 to 16 Airbus A330s – by 2023.

Speaking during an IAG capital markets event, outgoing Aer Lingus chief Stephen Kavanagh said that the carrier’s fleet was “simple by design”.

Aer Lingus has 13 A330s, comprising eight -300s and five -200s, but Kavanagh signalled that four additional A330s would arrive over the next five years.

The Irish carrier would drop one of its A330-200s, and the A330 platform would “transition” to the -300 rather than the -200, providing additional seats at “close to zero incremental costs”, he says.

Kavanagh’s presentation on the airline’s North Atlantic fleet expansion plan pointed to the first pair of additional A330s arriving in 2020 and the other pair in 2022.

Aer Lingus, which is introducing 14 A321LRs as part of its long-range operation, indicated that it was looking at a potential enhanced version of this aircraft – so far loosely dubbed the ‘A321XLR’.

Kavanagh says the A321LR “unlocks” new city-pair options. The first three aircraft will arrive in 2019, and the type will gradually replace four Boeing 757-200.

“We continue to review the opportunities that the potential ‘XLR’ will bring over time,” adds Kavanagh.

He says the A321LR will help “insulate” the airline against rising fuel costs, and points out that it will also support utilisation by being able to fly onwards to European destinations via Dublin after completing a transatlantic crossing.

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