Boeing 737 MAX grounding – ACS keeps summer schedules on track
As Boeing 737 MAX aircraft remain grounded worldwide, Air Charter Service (ACS) have been securing leasing solutions for a major European airline to help them meet passenger demand during the peak spring and summer seasons.
With their B737 MAX fleets grounded, several major airlines are facing a busy spring schedule with a serious shortage of aircraft.
As investigations continue, it’s unclear when the Boeing jet will be cleared to fly again, potentially putting the peak summer season at risk too.
With the outlook uncertain, some airlines were initially hesitant to make alternative plans, waiting to see the fate of their fleet.
But, one major European airline acted quickly and contacted us needing a fast solution to keep holidaymakers on the move in the short-term. They initially asked us to find an aircraft they could lease for one month of their spring schedule.
We knew that a major issue was going to be availability. With the sudden grounding of so many aircraft, the leasing market was flooded with demand.
However, when they came to us with more short-term lease requests through to July, it became clear that this was going to be a bigger issue.
One key requirement for them was going to be having the flexibility to extend or add more leased aircraft as the situation unfolded.
As soon as the call came through, the ACS team swung into action, sourcing aircraft capacity, and negotiating lease programs.
Despite the shortage of availability, thanks to our huge global network, we were able to quickly find and position the best aircraft for the airline.
As a replacement for the B737 MAX, we suggested either an Airbus A320 or A321. With 180 and 220 seats respectively, these aircraft provide enough passenger capacity, with the A321 offering the added benefit of additional seats to sell.
We found several suitable aircraft to lease to the airline between April and July 2019. Because of our long-standing relationships with our suppliers, we were able to negotiate short-term contracts, but with the flexibility to extend further if necessary.
The next complication came down to crew, with the airline’s Cabin Crew Attestation specific to the B737 MAX rather than the Airbus aircraft.
To overcome this, a damp lease solution was found, where aircraft were supplied with Airbus-rated pilots and a senior cabin crew member.
The rest of the cabin crew came from the lessee airline, following a short training course on the leased aircraft and the lessor airline’s standard operating procedures.
By using their own cabin crew, the lessee airline made significant savings.
With their schedule secured until early summer and a plan in place for later in the year if needed, the airline are now able to guarantee their customers’ holidays, avoiding costly compensation bills and damage to their reputation.
Suitable aircraft are still available worldwide – call +44 (0)20 8335 1058 or email ACMI@aircharter.co.uk to find out more.
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