Aerolíneas Argentinas issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to lessors to incorporate two second-hand Airbus A330-200s, with an option for two more if deemed necessary and the offer is favorable. Proposals must be submitted by May 18, 2022.
According to documents published by the company and obtained by Aviacionline , the aircraft will be incorporated under an eight-year lease agreement. In addition, they must be configured with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 238 tons or higher (242T preferred).
The aircraft will have to be configured for 267 passengers in two classes: twenty-four in business class equipped with Lie Flat or Full flat seats and 243 in economy class. The in-flight entertainment (IFE) system must provide audio and video on demand, being Panasonic (and among its systems, the eX3) the preferred supplier to maintain compatibility with the existing fleet.
The aircraft must come out of a C-Check, which will give it at least 24 months of operations until the next major maintenance cycle. A330s need to be certified for 180-minute ETOPS operations, preferably ETOPS 240, and have a crew rest area.
Aerolíneas Argentinas’ current long-haul fleet
The company owns nine Airbus A330-200s and will soon receive a tenth aircraft. The utilization is around 4,000 flight hours per year per aircraft, with a ratio of flight hours to flight cycles of 9.5:1, according to the company.
If the proposal moves forward, the company could replace the LV-FNJ and FNK, which are 22 and 21 years old, the oldest aircraft in its fleet.
The airline took two more units in early 2020 to replace two A330s, but due to various problems with their powerplant they were stored in San Bernardino (California) until the first one was delivered in April 2022 with the addition of the LV-KAN and soon, the LV-KAO.
Aerolíneas’ A330s fly to Miami (MIA) and New York (JFK) in the United States; Rome (FCO) in Italy; Cancun (CUN) in Mexico; Punta Cana (PUJ) in the Dominican Republic and Madrid (MAD) in Spain. During the winter and summer high season they operate domestic routes to Ushuaia (USH), El Calafate (FTE), Bariloche (BRC) and Puerto Iguazú (IGR).
If the company maintains the original intent of the RFP, it will renew the current fleet with lower-wear aircraft, maintaining the ten units. If the company moves forward with options and ends up incorporating four Airbus A330s, the two additional aircraft will allow it to resume abandoned destinations, or reschedule them on routes that are currently served, with significant limitations, by narrow-body units.
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