Chile's Sky Airline plans to launch a request for proposal by year-end to lease another 12 Airbus A320neos, as the low-cost carrier progresses towards its goal to become an all-A320neo carrier by 2021.

The RFP has been approved by the airline's board, Sky chief executive Holger Paulmann tells FlightGlobal at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Panama City. Sky operates three A320neos currently and expects to take its fourth in the second week of November.

"We have agreements signed for 21 A320neos, but deliveries will finish in the first half of 2021," says Paulmann. "We will need more than that."

Sky is growing its fleet to improve fuel efficiency and to enable its growth in other Latin American countries. Its Peruvian subsidiary is on track to launch flights in the second quarter of 2019, and the airline is also considering expanding to other countries, says Paulmann. Sky Peru will begin flights with a fleet of three A320neos.

The range of the A320neo will allow the airline to expand its international network, with countries in Central and North America coming into range, notes Paulmann. "We are definitely interested in adding some of those routes," he adds.

Since introducing the A320neos into its fleet, the airline has reduced its unit costs excluding fuel by about a quarter, says Paulmann, although he declines to specify the absolute figure. He expects the metric to decline by another 25% once the fleet transition is completed, he adds.

Source: Cirium Dashboard