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Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:29 am
by Wynnster8
Hello, I am wondering what would happen to Virgin America's A320 fleet. Are most of the fleet owned or leased, If leased would They be returned to the lessor at end of leasing Period or be kept by Alaska Airlines and Extended. If most are owned would they be sold to another airline like Allegiant? or be kept by Alaska Airlines?

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:40 am
by NameOmitted
Well... let's just get one thing out of the way at the begging of the thread. Yes, we KNOW AS is no longer "Proudly all Boeing" (not aimed at you, Wynnster8).

That being said, we don't know what will happen to the Airbus fleet, and won't know until Alaska Airlines tells us. The party line is that they are studying the economics of both aircraft. It would be a bit of a shock if they retained the Airbus fleet past when a majority of the aircraft are all off lease, but there is a difference between business and sentimentality, and Air Group is a business.

There is a third variation as to what you have brought up, and that is that AS could purchase the Airbus fleet from the lessors.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:41 am
by Goodyear
They will probably be retained by Alaska. Delta, United, American have all shown that mixed fleets work, and work well.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:45 am
by Wynnster8
NameOmitted wrote:
Well... let's just get one thing out of the way at the begging of the thread. Yes, we KNOW AS is no longer "Proudly all Boeing" (not aimed at you, Wynnster8).

That being said, we don't know what will happen to the Airbus fleet, and won't know until Alaska Airlines tells us. The party line is that they are studying the economics of both aircraft. It would be a bit of a shock if they retained the Airbus fleet past when a majority of the aircraft are all off lease, but there is a difference between business and sentimentality, and Air Group is a business.

There is a third variation as to what you have brought up, and that is that AS could purchase the Airbus fleet from the lessors.


Are most of the fleet Owned by Virgin or Lessors?

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:58 am
by kaitak744
Given they already have the crew and infrastructure set up to operate the Airbus fleet, it would not be cost effective to migrate all that capacity over to new or second hand 737s. The most likely option is Alaska will fly the A320s until the end of their life span, and eventually phase them out for 737MAXs. The A319 fleet is small, that could possibly be phased out soon (along with the remaining 737-700s). A321NEOs will also probably stay.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:00 am
by EA CO AS
Most of the VX fleet are leased, with the leases expiring between 2020 and 2024; AS will decide in the coming months if they wish to retain the Airbus equipment or return them, but for now they're being repainted and outfitted in the brand new AS interiors, starting this fall.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:01 am
by NameOmitted
Wynnster8 wrote:
Are most of the fleet Owned by Virgin or Lessors?


A vast majority of the VX fleet was leased, which is the primary argument many have that AS overpaid. It's also drives the reasoing of many that the purchace need not have much effect on the long range fleet plan for AS, as there will be relitivly little cost to getting rid of the aircraft within a decade.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:02 am
by EA CO AS
NameOmitted wrote:
Wynnster8 wrote:
Are most of the fleet Owned by Virgin or Lessors?


A vast majority of the VX fleet was leased, which is the primary argument many have that AS overpaid.


Although part of the rationale was with the leases expiring "soonish," AS retains great flexibility with them:

o Keep them and extend the leases if you want to grow
o Send them back to the lessors as the leases run out if the economy tanks and excess capacity needs to be trimmed
o Send them back to the lessors if Boeing makes an offer AS can't refuse on the 737MAX10 or NSA/MOM

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:13 am
by DarthLobster
If there is to be an MoM, I can see AS likely being the launch customer. If not (and given how much Boeing has dragged it's feet on this, it's more than slightly possible), I can see AS retaining the Airbus for quite a long time while also growing the A321 fleet.

While it surprised no one, the big A321 order DL placed recently has to sting like hell for Boeing. Losing a big order from a historically loyal (and local) Boeing customer like AS might mortally wound the MoM program, so Boeing may want to hurry up and just offer the damned thing already...

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:18 am
by NameOmitted
EA CO AS wrote:
o Send them back to the lessors if Boeing makes an offer AS can't refuse on the 737MAX10 or NSA/MOM

To this point, simply having them acts against the threat of Boeing getting too complacent in the next round of negotiations. While there is always the threat of AS getting a good bid from Airbus, the cost of accepting such a bid is now significantly less, as AS would require less new experience or tooling to maintain an Airbus fleet.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:34 am
by DarthLobster
NameOmitted wrote:
A vast majority of the VX fleet was leased, which is the primary argument many have that AS overpaid.


EA CO AS wrote:
o Send them back to the lessors if Boeing makes an offer AS can't refuse on the 737MAX10 or NSA/MOM


I'm not a finance guy, but I wonder if such a deep discount, depending of course on order size, might in some way offset the "overpaying" AS did on VX...

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:44 am
by 9252fly
It's hard to predict the future, who's to say we don't someday see " Proudly all Airbus ".

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:03 am
by EA CO AS
NameOmitted wrote:
EA CO AS wrote:
o Send them back to the lessors if Boeing makes an offer AS can't refuse on the 737MAX10 or NSA/MOM

To this point, simply having them acts against the threat of Boeing getting too complacent in the next round of negotiations. While there is always the threat of AS getting a good bid from Airbus, the cost of accepting such a bid is now significantly less, as AS would require less new experience or tooling to maintain an Airbus fleet.


So far, neither Boeing nor Airbus has made AS an offer they can't refuse, but given the A321NEO backlog it's far less likely that Airbus comes along with a smoking deal than Boeing. That said, you never know!

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:26 am
by AAvgeek744
I think this "horror" some people have that AS is going to have Airbus in their fleet is silly. It would be like saying Air France should ditch all those 777's in their fleets. I think there is only one airline we can be sure won't have any Airbii for awhile is WN. Might happen around the same time the Cowboys go to the Super Bowl...20 years or so...

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:24 am
by Wynnster8
Thank you for your answers!

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:59 am
by GatorClark
Goodyear wrote:
They will probably be retained by Alaska. Delta, United, American have all shown that mixed fleets work, and work well.


I don't think the question facing Alaska is so much "Does this mixed fleet work well" as much as I think the question is more along the lines of "Does the BENEFITS of this mixed fleet outweigh the added costs we now have of maintaining and operating this mixed fleet". I seem to remember this question coming up when United merged with Continental (All Boeing), Delta (all Boeing/MD) merged with Northwest, and American was all Boeing/MD (at least on mainline), until they got a heck of a deal on some A319's & A321T's just prior to the US merger. Delta, United, & American have all now proven over the past decade or so that they are more than willing to forego any sense of "loyalty" to Airbus or Boeing and are loyal rather, to the dollars in their pocket. In my personal opinion (really doesn't count for much) there is something to be said for Alaska's "Proudly All-Boeing" fleet. Their operation costs of operating an all 737 fleet is rivaled only by WN who also operates an all Boeing 737 fleet. Think about it. You only have to train everyone on ONE type of equipment. The 737. WN decided it was in their best interest in the AirTran merger to offload the 717's quick, fast, & in a hurry because that is what worked for them. Alaska may decide that is what they want to do at lease-end on the Airbus aircraft. At the same time, they may decide that it benefits them to keep them on. Alaska does still own Horizon correct? So they already have the multiple fleet types even though they aren't branded as "Alaska" flights. Until the day comes when Alaska releases a definitive plan on what to do with them, you can be guaranteed of only one thing. Alaska is going to do what Alaska believes to be in their best interest.

As a side note, in the above mergers, I didn't think Delta would ever fly the pmNW 747's, and I thought WN would actually keep the 717's. And I didn't see AA ever ordering any more Airbus aircraft after they retired the A300. But I was proved wrong.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:11 am
by hOMSaR
AAvgeek744 wrote:
. I think there is only one airline we can be sure won't have any Airbii for awhile is WN.


Actually, I think that every airline falls into that category since there’s no such thing as an Airbii.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:41 am
by usxguy
Friend close to a lot of "important" people at Alaska said they've been actively talking with all the lessors. The current leases are at a premium, because VX was never very well off financially, so the leases signed were "high risk". Or, they are paying more for the Airbus than say, Delta or United. Lessors always charge a bit more, or a lot more, depending on the airline's credit rating/risks. AAG is superb in this regards and I'm told that will be part of them extending the life of the Airbuses with Alaska. The lessors know Alaska has the ability to write them a check for each airplane, and also that Alaska can go back to Boeing and order 70+ 737s and send back the entire fleet.

so this will be an interesting 'poker game' to watch unfold.

My money is on Airbus staying in the fleet forever. I think all the Lessors will fold and offer more competitive lease rates or sell AAG the birds outright.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:29 am
by seahawks7757
Don't be shocked if the 40 A320neo order that was delayed a couple years ago is upgraded to A321neo. From what I've heard AAG is very happy with the A321neo so far.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:08 pm
by NameOmitted
seahawks7757 wrote:
Don't be shocked if the 40 A320neo order that was delayed a couple years ago is upgraded to A321neo. From what I've heard AAG is very happy with the A321neo so far.


I world be absolutely thrilled if an AS A321 were to be put up against DL's 757 ANC-MSP.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:59 pm
by AAvgeek744
hOMSaR wrote:
AAvgeek744 wrote:
. I think there is only one airline we can be sure won't have any Airbii for awhile is WN.


Actually, I think that every airline falls into that category since there’s no such thing as an Airbii.


Gee I didn't know it bothered you until I saw your tag lines. You should add to it that the plural for aircraft is aircraft, no s. Some don't get that either. Cheers.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:21 pm
by EA CO AS
seahawks7757 wrote:
Don't be shocked if the 40 A320neo order that was delayed a couple years ago is upgraded to A321neo. From what I've heard AAG is very happy with the A321neo so far.


If the price and delivery schedule were aggressive enough, I could easily see this as well. AAG has been pretty impressed with the A321NEO for the most part.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:47 pm
by RWA380
It is interesting indeed, I have heard AAG likes the A321neo & so do passengers. I've heard from the AAG employees that are a mix of people I know, Emerald tower folks to flight attendants, the A-319 & A-320's are leaving as leases expire. Again it's only these people expressing their own views based on what they see happening as the merger is completing.

The A321neo has AAG very happy, I thought I read here on A.net that the MAX10 & A321neo will have very similar ASM advantages & that the big difference comes with things like pallet loading, which AS currently do anyhow.

The references to comparing the AS fleet to those of UA, DL, AA is that these are much larger carriers & need the flexible fleets, while WN & AS have been very successful in a single fleet type, I don't think AS needs a sub-fleet, yet.

I really expect AS will be a launch customer for the Boeing MoM or 797 & that will be their next huge financial investment in their fleet after they get their MAX 737's.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:31 pm
by 452QX
EA CO AS wrote:
seahawks7757 wrote:
Don't be shocked if the 40 A320neo order that was delayed a couple years ago is upgraded to A321neo. From what I've heard AAG is very happy with the A321neo so far.


If the price and delivery schedule were aggressive enough, I could easily see this as well. AAG has been pretty impressed with the A321NEO for the most part.


Hitched a ride on 925VA last week (321N), one of the best planes I've flown on in recent years. I can see why the neos are starting to prove so popular.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:08 am
by seahawks7757
452QX wrote:
EA CO AS wrote:
seahawks7757 wrote:
Don't be shocked if the 40 A320neo order that was delayed a couple years ago is upgraded to A321neo. From what I've heard AAG is very happy with the A321neo so far.


If the price and delivery schedule were aggressive enough, I could easily see this as well. AAG has been pretty impressed with the A321NEO for the most part.


Hitched a ride on 925VA last week (321N), one of the best planes I've flown on in recent years. I can see why the neos are starting to prove so popular.



Does it still bark like a dog or did they finally fix that issue?

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:13 am
by N757ST
seahawks7757 wrote:
452QX wrote:
EA CO AS wrote:

If the price and delivery schedule were aggressive enough, I could easily see this as well. AAG has been pretty impressed with the A321NEO for the most part.


Hitched a ride on 925VA last week (321N), one of the best planes I've flown on in recent years. I can see why the neos are starting to prove so popular.



Does it still bark like a dog or did they finally fix that issue?


Every a32x aircraft has the “barking dog” sound. It’s a hydraulic power transfer unit that is turned on during single engine taxi with the electric Y pump off or during second engine start. Most airlines run the yellow electric pump on single engine taxiis to eliminate the constant sound.

Re: Virgin America (A320 FLEET)

Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:14 am
by JayWings
I do think it’s interesting that AAG is installing the new cabins/interiors into the leased Airbus aircraft. That may be a sign pointing to them keeping the birds beyond their short term leases. I can’t imagine spending that much money on a makeover for only a few years of service! Also the 73G’s will be getting the new interior this year as well! Seems like they may be sticking around for a while too! Just glad the 734’s HAD to go in order to take the MAX, or else they probably would have gotten the upgrade too! :roll: