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February 27, 2024


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Leasing firm Azorra made the following announcement:

Azorra announces the purchase of 12 Airbus A220-300s from EGYPTAIR, the flag carrier of Egypt.

Azorra is acquiring the aircraft from EGYPTAIR to support the airline’s ongoing fleet transformation, as it seeks to expand its offering to passengers.

John Evans, CEO and Founder of Azorra, says: “Our strong partnerships with Airbus and Pratt & Whitney have been key to facilitating this creative transaction. These young, well-maintained aircraft with freshly overhauled, updated engines from Pratt & Whitney have strong market demand and are very attractive to Azorra’s rapidly growing customer base. We are so grateful for EGYPTAIR’s trust and confidence in Azorra to provide a fleet transition solution, while clearing the path for new Airbus widebody aircraft.”

Eng. Yehia Zakria, CEO & Chairman of EGYPTAIR Holding, adds: “We highly value the creativeness shown by Azorra. We are thankful to the team for their commitment which led to such a successful transaction.”

The addition of the 12 aircraft from EGYPTAIR complements Azorra’s current A220 orderbook, with the majority already placed with airline customers across the globe.

This looks odd.  Azorra picks up a newish fleet (< fours years old) of A220s, whose engines have been updated by P&W.  It looks like an expeditious move by Azorra.  It is especially interesting that the airline has no news about this on its site.  Dropping a dozen aircraft, particularly new ones, is a move that warrants some comment you’d think. Then again, when you’re a 100% state owned airline, you don’t need to report anything you don’t feel like.

The A220s were brought in to replace E170s. There is a considerable jump from an E170 to an A220.-300. AviationWeek has some useful insight.  There we see that the airline was unhappy with the GTF, and we note Azorra’s CEO is quoted saying “provide a fleet transition solution, while clearing the path for new Airbus widebody aircraft.”

New Airbus widebodies? Strange association; sell the A220s and bring in more Airbus widebodies.

We know Azorra currently has commitments for more than 160 aircraft including Airbus A220-100/300 and Embraer E190/195-E2.  Azorra is focused on the A220 and given its slow production and high backlog, the lessor made its move. A move described as  “a creative transaction” by EgyptAir’s CEO.

Azorra will have no trouble finding homes for these A220s.  Is EgyptAir giving up on regional flying? That’s doubtful.  So, might the “creative transaction” be to get the A220s out, and replace these with E190-E2s, which Azorra has a line on? (Note the GTF has been much less of a challenge to E2 operators) And then leave the airline in a position to do a deal with Airbus on widebodies. The airline has six A330-200s approaching 20 years old and four averaging 13 years old.  These could be replaced by A330-900s. Or it could be a simple as the 777s being replaced by A350s as learned in Dubai.

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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