Spirit Airlines shuns A220s but plans adding leased aircraft

November 2, 2019 8:42 pm
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Spirit Airlines (NK, Fort Lauderdale Int’l) has an option to convert its recent order for 100 A320neo Family aircraft to A220s but is not planning to exercise them, Chief Financial Officer Scott M. Haralson said during a quarterly earnings call.

“We do have conversion rights up and down the spectrum of what Airbus offers through the A319-100neo, A320-200neo, and A321-200neo, as well into the A220 if we would like to do that. That’s just a mechanism, and the contract – not a hint to our desire to do that at all. Our plan is to operate the A320neo Family of aircraft,” Haralson said.

He further clarified that the LCC intends to operate the A319-100/A319neo as its smallest type.

The recently placed order also includes fifty options and foresees deliveries between 2022 and 2027.

Spirit Airlines said it will also be adding aircraft from lessors on top of the new batch of A320neo Family jets to meet its fleet growth targets.

“We will be supplementing these orders with additional leased aircraft to reach our mid-teens target growth rate over that period. This order allowed us to not only improve the economics of our current order book but also address the outdated terms and conditions. We gained further flexibility with this order that enhances our ability to flex our total fleet count up or down,” Haralson explained.

The airline can also reschedule aircraft retirements to adjust its aircraft count in the short- and medium-term.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Spirit Airlines currently operates thirty-one A319s, sixty-four A320-200s, fifteen A320neo, and thirty A321-200s.

Chief Executive Ted Christie III said that the airline should start registering incremental benefits from the introduction of the A320neo shortly, as their number reaches almost 20 by the end of 2019.

“So we’re finally getting to the point where we can actually subfleet that airplane and have it run the way it was built to run. Today we’ve been flying an A319 to Lima Int’l from Fort Lauderdale Int’l, with some seat block restrictions on it, just from a performance perspective. The neo eliminates that issue. So we now have the ability to fly the right aircraft during the right mission, generate very efficient ASMs and drive the right kind of unit revenue and non-ticket performance,” Christie said.