Eurocontrol has identified changes in the mix of aircraft in the fleets of various airlines, based on flights in its area – larger than just EU states.
Eurocontrol said, “Comparing the first three weeks of June 2021 with the same period in 2019, notable differences in the aircraft fleet mix can be observed.
“In June 2021 European hub-and-spoke airlines largely ceased operating four-engined aircraft types (A380, B747, A340 & RJ85).
“In addition they didn’t operate those aircraft types that were no longer aligned with the current market conditions except where cargo demand off-set the drop in passenger numbers.
“Zooming in on British Airways we can observe a significant reduction of aircraft types, a combination of aligning their long-haul operations to a drop in demand as well as the accelerated retirement of the Boeing 747 fleet. It also shows a move away from wet-lease operations and affiliated companies.”
Eurocontrol goes on to observe that low-cost carriers already operating a fleet with a limited number of aircraft types saw their fleet consolidation limited to one aircraft type. For example, Ryanair stopped flying the Laudamotion A321.
Meanwhile Wizz Air and Pegasus introduced the more fuel-efficient Airbus A321neo aircraft (pictured above).
“Network airlines have also made changes to their aircraft fleet mix by introducing more fuel-efficient aircraft types for their long-haul operations (e.g. A350 and B787),” said Eurocontrol.
“While some of the grounded aircraft types might yet re-appear as traffic recovers, the fleet mix rationalisation shown here looks like a combination of adjusting to permanently-changed market conditions as well as a move towards more sustainable operations.
“And as the summer recovery progresses, there are further improvements to come, for example as more B737 MAX arrive.”