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Airbus plane: Has Condor snagged A321 Neo slots from Qatar?

The German leisure airline will receive its newly ordered Airbus jets from spring 2024. There are two possible explanations for this early date.

Condor is refreshing its short and medium-haul fleet with 13 Airbus A320 Neo and 28 A321 Neo. There are also options to buy more jets, as the German holiday airline announced on Monday morning (July 25). The planned start of delivery is exciting.

“The aircraft are scheduled to be flown in from spring 2024,” writes the airline. This is a very early point in time, considering that the production of the A320 Neo and A321 Neo is actually working to capacity until 2027 and Condor is not a huge airline that can insist on earlier deliveries with great market power at Airbus.

First jets possibly from leasing companies

Basically there are two possible explanations. The first is that Condor could obtain the first planes from leasing companies. The airline has said it will buy some of the planes and lease some, but gave no further details. ITA Airways, for example, is currently doing the same: First it receives rented Airbus jets from leasing companies and later its own aircraft, which it buys from the manufacturer.

The second possible explanation: Condor was able to get hold of production slots that another airline had previously given up. From the beginning of the year to the end of June, Airbus had 17 canceled A320 Neo and 71 A321 Neo orders on its books.

50 free A321 slots thanks to Qatar Airways

The largest vacant item is the 50 A321 Neo originally earmarked for Qatar Airways, which Airbus took off its books in the A350 dispute. After some back and forth, the airline from Qatar has ordered a Boeing 737 Max 10 as a replacement.

What should also be noted: Condor made its decision much faster than expected. In November 2021, airline boss Ralf Teckentrup said: “For short and medium-haul routes, our company will think about something in the next 18 to 24 months.” The fact that the time has now come after only eight months could indicate that an option opened up spontaneously – for example through the vacated positions in production.

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Do Russian airlines matter?

However, another interpretation is also conceivable: The spontaneous option could also be that leasing companies have to reallocate aircraft from their order book that were actually intended for Russian airlines before Russia attacked Ukraine.

When asked, Condor did not want to comment on whether it would receive aircraft whose production slots were actually intended for Qatar Airways. The holiday airline also did not reveal anything about the split between purchase and leasing. Airbus explained: “We do not provide any information on the assignment of individual production slots.” This is confidential.

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