Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) has ordered twelve A320neo and A321neo aircraft with Airbus. The order was signed today during a ceremony in Baku, the capital of the Central Asian state. The Airbus order comes almost four years after the airline canceled its agreement with Boeing for ten MAX 8s over safety concerns. Azerbaijan Airlines orders 12 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft.
Azerbaijan announced in January that it was to upgrade its fleet with the A320neo family, having already inducted two A320neo’s in December and a third in mid-January that were originally leased by Aviation Capital Group (ACG) to S7 Siberia Airlines. Following the sanctions on Russia, these aircraft were not delivered.
The airline didn’t share details of its plans but announced a direct order today. There are no details about the delivery schedule, but the A320neo family is currently sold out until 2029. This would indicate that Azerbaijan has secured some production slots. Engine selection will follow at a later stage, although the three A320neo’s currently in the fleet use Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofans. The order was signed by AZAL First Vice President Samir Rzayev and Wouter van Wersch, Executive Vice President Europe for Airbus.
The neo’s are part of Azerbaijan’s fleet renewal strategy. AZAL currently operates four A319s and six A320s that are between 15.5 and 17.5 years old. The carrier also operates one Airbus A340-600, with two -500s parked, plus three Boeing 767-300s, one 777-200, and two 787-8s. Azerbaijan Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding for four more 787-8s at last year’s Farnborough Airshow and said back then that it wants to grow the Dreamliner fleet to ten aircraft by 2030.
The A320neo family order must be a disappointment for Boeing, which has been unable to get AZAL back into the MAX family. The airline had orders for ten MAX 8s but negotiated the cancelation with Boeing in June 2019. It no longer had confidence in the safety of the type after the two fatal accidents in October 2018 and March 2019. Although the technical deficiencies that contributed to the accidents have been corrected and the MAX has returned safely into service, AZAL has chosen to go for Airbus.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.