Australian carrier Alliance Airlines has signed an AU$85 million (US$65 million) deal for 16 Embraer E190s. The deal is a part of the airline’s short term fleet expansion plans. Delivery will start this month with five aircraft. This will be followed by one a month until November 2021. Before October, Alliance operated an all-Fokker fleet.
Alliance signed the deal with US-based charter airline Jetran for the 16 planes and one spare GE CF34 engine. The Embraer planes were originally operated by American Airlines and, as such, have the US carrier’s 99-seat configuration. This consists of eight business class seats, 80 economy seats, and four extra-legroom seats. The airline’s existing E190s have 10-12 business class seats and 84-88 economy seats, something the airline has embraced and has accepted operating different configurations.
The airline has said it wants to take advantage of the recovering domestic market, which it believes will rebound quickly. In a statement Managing Director, Scott McMillan said, “Alliance has again taken advantage of its strong financial position and current market conditions to acquire these quality aircraft at a compelling value,”
The airline also signed a deal in August for 14 E190s and six spare engines from US lessor Azorra Aviation as part of its fleet expansion plans. It also has an option for five more E190s, a flight simulator, and more equipment if needed. McMillan continued to say that “This additional capacity will be deployed to capture several growth opportunities across Australia including contract flying and wet- and dry-lease operations.”
The future of Alliance
Alliance has a strong domestic offering and short regional routes outside Australia to New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and Southeast Asia. With aviation showing signs of recovery in the region, Alliance will be well-placed to offer more charter flights. Growing its fleet and network is crucial for Alliance, which suffered under the double blow of the global downturn and the collapse of Virgin Australia. Alliance flew regional and charter flights for Virgin.
Alliance mainly avoided the downturn’s effect by offering charter, contract, and private flights alongside its commercial operations. As a result, it is one of the few airlines which managed to post a profit. The new Embraer jets will allow the airline to continue to offer these services and commercial passenger flights. The airline will also work with the relaunched Virgin Australia to fly to smaller airports that cannot accommodate the larger Virgin Boeing 737s.
With such a strong regional fleet and network, the longer Australia’s borders stay closed; the more Alliance can get to grips with its new Embraer fleet. As such, Alliance looks set for strong growth next year as domestic and regional routes recover faster than international ones.
However, the new Embraers will not be added to its Civil Aviation Safety Authority-issued (CASA) AOC until March 2021.
What do you think of Alliance’s future plans? Are we about to see massive growth? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.