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IAG yet to determine a quarter of projected 2023 fleet

Almost a quarter of the fleet IAG will operate in five years’ time has yet to be determined, according to the company’s latest capacity plan.

IAG plans to expand its fleet from 587 to 716 aircraft over the course of 2019-23.

But some 172 aircraft, comprising 128 short-haul and 44 long-haul, from this overall figure of 716 are still under consideration, the company has disclosed.

Thirteen short-haul aircraft due for introduction in 2019 and five long-haul aircraft due in 2020 are the earliest arrivals yet to be finalised.

IAG chief financial officer Enrique Dupuy, speaking during a capital markets event on 2 November, said the unresolved deliveries demonstrated the “flexibility and optionality” open to the company in its upcoming fleet decisions.

Dupuy says the company even has the possibility to reduce capacity “significantly” if necessary.

While the forecast 2023 fleet comprises 467 short-haul and 249 long-haul aircraft – a respective net increase of 81 and 48 – these figures could be slashed to as few as 213 short-haul and 179 long-haul jets over the five-year period, depending on the timing of capacity decisions.

IAG’s forecast indicates that British Airways’ Boeing 747-400s will be phased out more slowly than last year’s plans suggested, with 20 rather than 18 still operating in 2021.

Iberia’s 17 Airbus A340-600s will be fully phased out in 2023, the fleet forecast shows.

IAG’s overall strategy also envisions at least 38 A350s in service by 2023. BA has 18 A350-1000s on order, Iberia has 16 A350-900s, and Aer Lingus has nine -900s.

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