Boeing is confident it can oust Airbus at Latin American airline group Avianca, despite the large incumbent fleet of A320-family aircraft and orders for A320neos.

The Bogota, Colombia-based airline group and its affiliates operates around 150 A320-family aircraft. It was among the launch customers for the A320neo family and has 33 on order, but Boeing’s head of sales for the region is bullish about Seattle's prospects at the airline.

"We're working on a campaign right now to introduce the Max there," says Van Rex Gallard, Boeing's vice-president of sales for Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean.

"They have [ordered A320neos], but when we show the numbers to their fleet planners, the 737 Max 8 – which is the heart of the fleet when it comes to size – is the right size for Avianca and has better economics than brand A.

"If you're pragmatic about it and even taking in to consideration the cost of introducing a new fleet type, the Max 8 is a better solution for Avianca on that size of airplane."

Despite the challenge of engineering a major switch in allegiance, Gallard is confident that Avianca can be a serious 737 Max prospect.

"It's not a done deal – we’re in the middle of the conversations. But I'm bullish enough to be able to talk to you about the fact that we have a good chance there."

In an interview with Flightglobal ahead of the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Bahamian capital Nassau, Gallard expressed confidence that, once Boeing got its foot in the door, Avianca's experience with the 737 Max would convince it "that a total swap makes sense".

The other mega-group in the region is LATAM, which is a major A320-family customer and has placed orders for 54 Neos. But Gallard hasn't given up the idea of selling into this Airbus stronghold.

"I'd like to have the opportunity to have the same conversation with LATAM to prove that the Max 8 is a superior airplane, and prove to them that making the transition back – because they used to be an all-Boeing operator – would prove the winning formula for them," he says.

Source: Cirium Dashboard