From 100 to 0: Is Avianca behind BOC Aviation A320neo order drop?
BOC Aviation has cancelled its order for 18 A320neo aircraft after the lessor’s customer decided to buy the aircraft straight from Airbus.
BOC Aviation, Singapore-based aircraft leasing company, cancelled its agreement with Airbus to purchase 18 A320neo family aircraft, the company revealed in a statement on August 28, 2020. The customer had an option either to take the aircraft on long-term lease or to purchase jets from the manufacturer directly, the leasing company explained.
The delivery of A320neos to the BOC Aviation was scheduled in 2023 and 2024.
BOC Aviation did not make public neither the name of its airline customer, nor the value of the order. However, multiple order changes of Columbian airline Avianca (AVHOQ) suggest that it might have been it.
The assumption could be substantiated following the mass of changes the airline has made to its order over the years. In particular, Avianca (AVHOQ) firmed its first order for 92 A320neo aircraft in May 2015. The deal was hailed by the manufacturer as “the largest single order ever made in Latin America’s aviation history“ at the time. However, the airline later changed it several times.
In December 2018, Avianca (AVHOQ) started renegotiations with Airbus, seeking to shrink the previous order by almost a half, to 50 A320neos. In March 2019, due to financial difficulties it was facing, the Colombian flag-carrier shrunk the order to 35 A320neos.
Then, in January, 2020, lessor BOC Aviation announced the start of cooperation with struggling Avianca (AVHOQ), a new customer at the time. The leasing company made an order of 20 Airbus A320neos and, as it stated in a press release at the time, “a minimum of ten and up to 12 of these A320neo aircraft have been committed for lease to Avianca (AVHOQ)“.
Under the agreement with the leasing company, Avianca (AVHOQ) should have leased up to 12 aircraft for 12 years. The deliveries of those narrowbodies were planned to start after 2023.
However, after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Avianca (AVHOQ) changed its mind once more in May 2020. The airline started the reorganization process, which included fleet optimization. It now appears that the carrier has also decided to refuse the fleet renewal with a new engine option via lease, opting for a direct purchase instead.
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