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Corsair to lease A330neos and go all-Airbus under new owner Intro

French carrier Corsair is to phase out its Boeing aircraft over the next five years, in favour of an expanded, all-Airbus fleet which includes a trio of leased A330-900s.

Under a strategy unveiled by new majority owner Intro Aviation, the airline will grow from its current seven long-haul aircraft to 13 by 2023.

Each of Corsair's three Boeing 747s will be replaced by two A330s, says Intro.

It adds that a lease deal for three A330-900s was signed on 15 March, for commissioning by 2021, and that three other A330s will join the fleet as the 747s are withdrawn. A further three aircraft are to arrive in a second phase between 2021 and 2023.

Cirum's Fleets Analyzer shows that Corsair four A330-200s in service. Two are leased: one from Carlyle Aviation Partners, the other from MCAP. The Paris-based airline owns its three 747-400s.

Intro says the shift to an all-A330 fleet will "improve the quality of the product", allowing the airline to adopt new cabin layouts, simplify its operations and "significantly" reduce operating costs.

The German company says its aim is for Corsair to achieve "critical size" both in the number of aircraft it operates and in passengers carried, thereby consolidating its position as a "major player" in the long-haul market. The fleet plan will also enable Corsair to consolidate existing assets such as its "strong" brand, adds Intro.

Corsair was acquired by an Irish-registered holding company called Diamondale, of which Intro owns 53%, TUI 27% and Corsair employees the remaining 20%.

Both Intro and TUI have committed to staying on as shareholders for a minimum of three years.

Intro says it wants to retain Corsair's existing configuration with business, premium economy and economy class, while providing additional services through new products and cabin layouts.

Corsair's base at Paris Orly is to be maintained. There is "no intention" to open new bases, given the airport's modernisation programme and its existing slot portfolio.

Intro says Corsair will concentrate on "high-volume" traffic destinations while providing a "more productive and high-quality" flight schedule. The network is to be expanded, with a number of new destinations currently under review.

Meanwhile, Corsair employees will, says Intro, enjoy "exceptional" involvement in the business, both through their 20% shareholding but also through a provision allowing them to appoint one of the four directors on the Diamondale board and one director on the airline's own board. This will facilitate them in contributing to the company’s "management and strategic planning", Intro says.

In addition to this involvement of the staff, Intro says it has committed to a certain number of "highly advantageous guarantees" for Corsair employees over a two-year period in regards to retention of staff, wages, current collective agreements and a ruling-out of staff transfers.

All members of the airline's executive committee, including Corsair chief executive Pascal de Izaguirre, are to "remain in place", notes Intro.

It expects Corsair to benefit from its own expertise in creating a "more agile and responsive environment" which will "accelerate and simplify" the decision-making process.

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