IAG Group CEO Willie Walsh revealed in an interview with German website Aero Telegraph that British Airways is interested in leasing six used Airbus A380 to expand the fleet of the large capacity model.
The world’s largest passenger airliner has ended its production announced by Airbus recently. Since then, some A380 customers have already planned their retirement while two units have begun to be dismantled in Europe due to the lack of potential costumers.
According Walsh, whose group commands not only British Airways but Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level, the A380 is a good airplane, but the cost of leasing is unrealistic. “If we get the right price, six more Airbus A380s would make sense,” he said. Today BA has a fleet of 12 jets of this model.
A321XLR and 737 MAX
The IAG CEO also commented on other aircraft studied by the company among them the A321XLR and the 737 MAX. On the long-range version of Airbus, Walsh says the group is very interested if it is indeed confirmed by the European manufacturer.
The A321XLR, however, would be a good alternative for Aer Lingus for passenger capacity while Iberia would make good use of its extra range. The variant should be announced at the Paris Air Show next week.
On 737 Max, Walsh made several compliments to the plane. “I would have no problem traveling aboard a Boeing 737 Max, I would feel comfortable,” he said. Today the group no longer uses the Boeing aircraft, which was quite numerous on British Airways and Aer Lingus in the past.
The Irish businessman considers adopting the 737 Max at the Vueling low cost which currently has a fleet of only Airbus aircraft. In addition, he considered using the Boeing jet on routes from Gatwick airport, where his previous generations were flying.
E190-E2 or A220?
Walsh also commented on BA CityFlyer‘s fleet renewal, which has its hubs at London City Airport and Edinburgh. Today the company has an exclusive fleet of Embraer aircraft, with six E170s and 17 E190s. The IAG CEO said the group looks at two planes, the new-generation E190-E2, and the A220, the former C Series, from Bombardier.
According to him, 26 planes will be ordered, but Walsh declined to indicate whether there is a preferred model. “Both are very good products and I do not have a favorite yet,” he said, adding that the choice should be set in the coming months.