Icelandair Is Happy With Its Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft

Icelandair has reported a loss of $68 million for the first half of 2021 but is keenly looking…

Icelandair Is Happy With Its Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft

Icelandair has reported a loss of $68 million for the first half of 2021 but is keenly looking to the future as it sees the first signs of a turnaround. The airline is planning to fly up to 80% of its 2019 capacity in the fourth quarter, if demand continues to grow. Notably, Icelandair has sung the praises of its newly inducted 737 MAX, and could even be eyeing an order for more.

Icelandair is pleased with the performance of the MAX. Photo: Icelandair

Positive changes at Icelandair

Despite reporting a comprehensive loss of $68 million for the first half of 2021, Icelandair has reasons to be cheerful about the future. The airline says that there have been definite signs of a turnaround in recent months, aided by the opening of Icelandic borders to fully vaccinated travelers. It is operating around 15% of its 2019 capacity right now, but expects this to ramp up to 70-80% by the fourth quarter.

And it’s not just positive changes in activity that are pleasing Icelandair. The airline has also taken delivery of three new 737 MAX aircraft in the most recent quarter, taking its total fleet to nine aircraft. Seven are already in service, with the other two expected to come into use in August. Icelandair is very pleased with the performance of the MAX to date, noting in its earnings release that,

“The aircraft is even more technically reliable and fuel efficient than originally anticipated with a payload range exceeding prior expectations making its suitability for Icelandair’s route network outstanding. The aircraft moreover supports the Group’s environmental strategy, which is focused on reducing carbon emissions, ensuring responsible environmental management, and driving sustainable procurement.”

Icelandair MAX
The MAX has been performing even better than expected. Photo: Icelandair

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Eyeing an order for more

Icelandair is so happy with its MAX, it is eagerly anticipating deliveries of more of the type, and could even be set to order additional aircraft in the future. It said,

“The Group will take delivery of three additional MAX aircraft in winter 2021/2022. Favorable post-COVID market conditions may result in further additions to the fleet the feasibility of which is currently being explored.”

Icelandair was impacted by the MAX grounding, and reached a settlement with Boeing in August 2020 for the damages caused by the 22-month long issue. Back then, the airline agreed with Boeing to cancel several of its aircraft orders, reducing the purchase agreement from 16 planes to 12.

Boeing 737 MAX 8
The MAX are seen as replacements for the aging 757s. Photo: Boeing

The remaining three aircraft from that original order in 2013 are set to be delivered in the coming months. The airline is expecting one 737 MAX 8 and one 737 MAX 9 to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2021, with the final 737 MAX 8 due to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022.

These aircraft are set to replace the airline’s aging 757s, of which it still has 20. Some of these aircraft are over 30 years of age, and the airline has been keen to modernize its fleet for some time. With the MAX proving to be a reliable workhorse with better than expected efficiency, we could well see more MAX ordered by Icelandair in the coming months.

MAX 9s approved for Viasat WiFi

With the MAX 9 now part of Icelandair’s fleet, Icelandair is ready to bring its high-speed Viasat WiFi to passengers on these aircraft. The Viasat solution has been installed on the MAX 9 earlier this year, but was unable to be activated until the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) was granted by EASA. This certification has now been received, clearing the way for the MAX 9s to join the MAX 8s in offering WiFi connectivity to all its passengers.

Icelandair MAX 9
The MAX 9s will join the MAX 8s in offering high-speed, Viasat-powered WiFi. Photo: Viasat

Don Buchman, Vice President of Commercial Aviation at Viasat, commented,

“We are honored to work alongside the highly motivated Icelandair team in accomplishing this major milestone. As passengers increasingly return to air travel, the importance of great inflight Wi-Fi is paramount, and Icelandair is providing customers a great connectivity experience so they can do what they want online while in the air.”

All Viasat-enabled aircraft will be installed by April 2022, giving passengers at-home quality internet access from gate-to-gate.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Chair Airlines Leases Enter Air 737 To Plug Capacity Gap

The small Swiss airline, Chair Airlines, has announced plans to lease one Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Polish airline…

Chair Airlines Leases Enter Air 737 To Plug Capacity Gap

The small Swiss airline, Chair Airlines, has announced plans to lease one Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Polish airline Enter Air. This comes as flights services resume after the pandemic, but Chair Airlines finds itself missing one of its three Airbus A319s following a maintenance accident in 2020.

Chair Airlines operates just two A319 aircraft – these will be joined over summer by one 737-800. Photo: Firat Cimenli via Wikimedia

Chair Airlines and the A319

Chair Airlines is a leisure carrier based at Zurich airport. It started service in 2014, under the brand Germania Flug. Since 2019, and after the bankruptcy of Germania, it rebranded as Chair Airlines. This was certainly a quirky choice of name. According to the airline, it represents both the seat that you book and the Swiss connection with the ‘ch.’

Germania A319
HB-JOG was operated by Germania in 2015. Photo: dxme via Wikimedia

The airline operates scheduled flights from Switzerland to several holiday destinations across Europe, as well as Egypt and Tunisia (10 destinations in total according to ch-aviation.com). Fleet-wise it operates just two Airbus A319-100 aircraft – with registrations HB-JOG and HB-JOJ. These were both acquired second-hand by Germania before being taken on by Chair Airlines.

Loosing one Airbus aircraft in 2020

Before the pandemic, Chair Airlines had a slightly larger fleet of thee A319 aircraft. A third aircraft with registration HB-JOH had a similar history but was lost in July 2020. This was the result of an unfortunate accident when undergoing maintenance at Naples airport. According to the airline, this happened following an impact with the door of a maintenance hangar, and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.

Chair Airlines A319
HB-JOH was the A319 written off in 2020. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Leasing a Boeing 737-800

Dropping to a fleet of two aircraft would clearly be impactful for such a small airline. With the slowdown in traffic seen in 2020, there was no immediate need to replace it. This has changed now that traffic is once again increasing.

Chair Airlines is leasing one Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Polish airline Enter Air. According to aeroTELEGRAPH, the 737, with registration SP-ESE, will occasionally fly over the summer on a wet lease arrangement. The Enter Air branding will be temporarily covered with the Chair Airlines logo. The aircraft was ferried to Zurich on July 21st and flew its first service the same day (from Zurich to Skopje).

Enter Air 737-800
An Enter Air 737-800 – similar to that being leased. Photo: Mark Harkin via Wikimedia

Chair Airlines and Enter Air

The choice of airline to lease from is no coincidence. Enter Air owns 49% of the shares in Chair Airlines. It is likewise a leisure airline, based in Warsaw and founded in just 2009. It took a share in struggling Germania Flug in March 2019.

Enter Air operates an all-Boeing fleet, with 24 Boeing 737-800 and two 737 MAX 8 aircraft (according to ch-aviation.com). It has a further six 737 MAX 8 aircraft on order.

Simple Flying reached out to Chair Airlines for further details on its plans for the 737-800 aircraft but had not heard back at the time of publication.

Have you ever flown with Chair Airlines and its small A319 fleet? Do you think this wet lease deal will work for the airline, or will it look to purchase its own aircraft as the market picks up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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