By Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Volaris Announces Incorporation of Eight A320neo Aircraft In 2021
Volaris, the ultra-low-cost carrier that operates in Mexico, the U.S. and Central America, announced the addition of eight A320neo aircraft to its fleet in 2021, in addition to the three aircraft from its purchase order with Airbus, thus closing the year with at least 98 aircraft.
Volaris has been able to take advantage of the favorable conditions in the aircraft leasing market, as a result of which it was possible for the Mexican ultra-low-cost airline to carry out the incorporation of these aircraft with long-term leases, while other Mexican carriers have reduced capacity which has presented an unprecedented opportunity for Volaris to optimally add additional capacity.
As vaccination programs have gained momentum in American markets, confidence in air travel has accelerated. As a result, Volaris is adding eight A320neo aircraft to its fleet in 2021 through direct operating leases, of which five will enter operation this summer.
This additional capacity will be deployed primarily to strengthen the carrier’s leadership position in the Mexican market. The company is evaluating future market opportunities to incorporate additional aircraft.
These fuel-efficient aircraft will enable Volaris to seize market opportunities in the second half of the year and further increase the percentage of A320neo family aircraft in its fleet. All of this aligned with the company’s sustainability strategy to ensure the viability of the industry and the business in the future.
According to the carrier, during the first quarter of 2021, Volaris added an A320neo aircraft to its fleet. As of March 31, the Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier’s fleet consisted of 87 aircraft (six A319s, 65 A320s and 16 A321s), with an average age of 5.5 years. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, the Volaris fleet averaged 188 seats per aircraft, 79% of our aircraft were equipped with sharklets and 36% were neo.
Volaris had 4.3 million passengers booked in the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of 19.1% compared to the same period last year. Volaris traffic measured in total passenger miles decreased 18.7% for the same period of the previous year. The load factor decreased 6.6% compared to the same period of the previous year, reaching a level of 78.1%.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier has implemented a “cash preservation plan,” which achieved significant results in 2020.
In a press release, the airline stated that its focus during the first quarter of 2021 has been to combine payment deferrals, along with an optimization of the fleet plan to meet post-COVID-19 traffic requirements.
During the first 2021 quarter, Volaris aimed to achieve a working capital optimization in the amount of $100 million. To date, Volaris has reached agreements for $87 million.
The carrier is also working on other initiatives related to its fleet to improve its competitive position through the preservation of cash and further reducing the total costs of the fleet.