The Airbus A321 has been doing a lot of winning lately. Air Lease Corporation announced placements of six new Airbus A321neo aircraft with Azores Airlines. The CFM leap 1A engine-powered aircraft from ALC’s order book with Airbus will deliver between 4Q17 and early 2021. The new ALC A321neo aircraft will replace Azores Airlines’ A310 fleet.
Airbus’ announcement was more detailed:”Azores airlines which is fully owned by Sociedade Açoreana de Transportes Aéreos (SATA) is modernizing its short-haul and transatlantic fleet with the A321neo and by 2019 with the longer range A321LR. The decision follows a growth strategy to expand into new transatlantic routes.”
What makes this particular selection interesting? Air travel across the Atlantic between African islands and the US exists now. TACV is the airline and it is based in Cabo Verde. This is a group of islands off the African west coast, close to Senegal. The Azores is another group of islands, about 1,500 miles north. The TACV flight uses a 757. You know where this going don’t you?
The proposed SATA flight from the Azores to the US will use the A321neo and later the A321LR. Since there is no 757, the airline selected the next best thing. For a long thin route, airlines want an aircraft with specific capabilities. This has been the 757’s specialty. It is true that SATA is a long time Airbus customer and one expects them to favor the OEM. SATA has two old (24 & 25 years) A310s that work the Atlantic. But here is another case where a 757 replacement would have been useful.