Surprisingly, Egyptair Sells Its Entire Fleet of A220

EgyptAir, the flag carrier of Egypt, has decided to sell its entire fleet of 12 Airbus A220-300s to Azorra, a US-based aircraft leasing company. The move comes as a surprise, as the A220 is one of the most modern and efficient aircraft in the market, and EgyptAir was among the first customers to receive the type in 2019.

According to FlightGlobal, EgyptAir owns the A220s outright, and is not returning them to a lessor. Azorra will remarket the aircraft and find new customers for them. The A220s are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engines, which have faced some supply chain and maintenance issues in the past.

EgyptAir has not given a clear reason for its decision to dump the A220s, but the carrier's CEO has stated that selling the A220s "clears the path for new Airbus wide body aircraft."¹ EgyptAir ordered 10 Airbus A350-900s and 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8s at the Dubai Airshow in November 2023, adding to its existing fleet of Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A320neo-family aircraft.

The sale of the A220s also comes amid a call from the Egyptian government for the national carrier to restructure and reduce its losses, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. EgyptAir has been struggling to compete with other airlines in the region, such as Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways, which offer more destinations and better service.

The A220, formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries, is a popular aircraft among passengers and airlines, thanks to its spacious cabin, low operating costs, and long range. The A220 can seat between 100 and 150 passengers, and can fly up to 6,300 km. The A220 has received 785 orders from 31 customers worldwide, as of March 31st, 2023.

Some of the A220 operators include SWISS, airBaltic, Delta Air Lines, Air Canada, and JetBlue. However, not all of them have been happy with the performance of the aircraft, especially due to the engine problems. AirBaltic, which operates an all-A220 fleet, has complained that the engine maintenance takes up to eight months, instead of the normal 90 days.

The A220 is also facing competition from other aircraft manufacturers, such as Embraer, which offers the E2 family of jets, and Airbus itself, which has launched the A220 Plus, a higher-capacity version of the A220-300. The A220 Plus can seat up to 160 passengers, and is aimed at low-cost carriers and high-density markets.

EgyptAir's decision to sell its A220s is a rare and puzzling move, as the aircraft is widely regarded as one of the best in its class. It remains to be seen how the carrier will replace the capacity and flexibility that the A220s offered, and how the new customers of Azorra will benefit from the aircraft.

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