EgyptAir to detail fleet renewal plans in 2013
EgyptAir is aiming to finalise its long-term strategy over the coming months, in preparation for a sizeable fleet renewal and the introduction of a new 200-seat type.
“Right now we are building our 10-year plan for the period 2012-22,” said EgyptAir deputy VP planning Ehab Ghazy at an Embraer-sponsored airline business conference in Maputu. “Our network analysis will be completed by March and after that we will talk with the manufacturers about our expected aircraft requirements.”
At the moment EgyptAir operates an 79-aircraft fleet, including Embraer 170s, Boeing 737-500s, Airbus A320s, Boeing 737-800s, A321s, A330-200s and -300s, A340s, Boeing 777-200ERs and 777-300s. “With the next five years, we plan to reduce down to five types totalling 81 aircraft,” explains Ghazy.
However, he highlights “a clear 200-seat gap” in EgyptAir’s fleet between the A321 and the A330 which “needs filling”. This requirement, coupled with traffic growth and a shift in EgyptAir’s fleet planning horizon from five to 10 years, should give rise to a fairly significant order.
“This process [finalising the airline’s fleet requirements] normally takes three to six months after we have finalised the network. Hopefully by the end of 2013 we will be in a position to talk with the manufacturers and place a firm order.”
Any aircraft commitment will depend on Egypt’s stability. In late 2012, there was a referendum on the country’s constitution and parliamentary elections are planned for March 2013. “I think things will stabilise afterwards,” says Ghazy.
The unrest in Egypt has already caused some disruption to EgyptAir’s fleet planning. “Under the last plan, which was due to end in 2014, we had to delay some aircraft deliveries, push forward some phase-outs and postpone our fleet expansion by two years. It was not easy work, but we had to reduce capacity going into market. We know this crisis will end. The market is growing and we need to be ready for that.”
To maximise its flexibility, EgyptAir is also working to take a greater number of aircraft on lease, rather than through outright purchase. “Our government needs to accept that we are changing the way of doing things,” says Ghazy.