Condor Expands Fleet with Airbus A320neo and A321neo Aircraft

Abhishek Nayar

06 Jan 2024

In a strategic move to modernize its fleet, Condor, the German leisure specialist airline, has inked a deal with BOC Aviation to dry-lease two new-build A320-200Ns and four A321-200Ns. The deliveries for these aircraft are scheduled between 2027 and 2028, marking a significant step for Condor in enhancing its operational capabilities.

BOC Aviation's Airbus Deal

BOC Aviation, a major player in the aircraft leasing industry, has secured a new order directly from Airbus to fulfill Condor's requirements. The leasing company, headquartered in Singapore, has not disclosed the specific duration of the dry leases, but the agreement underscores the growing trend of airlines turning to leasing as a flexible and cost-effective means of acquiring new aircraft.

Condor's Fleet Transition Plans

Currently operating a diverse fleet, including A320s, A321s, A330s, B757s, and B767s, Condor has ambitious plans to revamp its narrowbody fleet. The airline has a firm order for four A320-200Ns and six A321-200Ns directly from Airbus. Additionally, Condor has confirmed commitments for an extra nine A320-200Ns and twenty-two A321-200Ns, with contributions from Air Lease Corporation, further bolstering its commitment to the A320neo Family.

BOC Aviation's Growing Airbus Portfolio

According to data from the ch-aviation fleets ownership module, BOC Aviation currently owns seventy-eight A320neo and thirty A321neo aircraft, including four A321-200NX(LR)s. The lessor, however, has not leased any aircraft to Condor until this recent commitment. With the new order, BOC Aviation's unfilled orders from Airbus include forty-four A320-200Ns, sixty-five A321-200Ns, and ten A321-200NY(XLR)s, highlighting the lessor's confidence in the long-term prospects of these aircraft.

Condor's Diversification and Growth Strategy

Condor's fleet expansion is not limited to narrowbody aircraft, as the airline plans to add two A321-200s previously operated by Heston Airlines and ten additional A330-900s. This diversified approach underscores Condor's commitment to meeting the evolving demands of the leisure travel market.


In summary, Condor's collaboration with BOC Aviation for the dry lease of new Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft represents a pivotal step in the airline's fleet modernization strategy. As the aviation industry continues to recover from the challenges posed by the global pandemic, such strategic fleet investments position Condor for sustained growth and efficiency in the competitive leisure travel sector.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

Read next

Thai Airways International Completes Merger with Thai Smile

Abhishek Nayar

06 Jan 2024

In a strategic move aimed at streamlining operations and enhancing overall service efficiency, Thai Airways International has successfully completed its merger with Thai Smile. The low-cost carrier (LCC) operated its final services on December 31, 2023, marking the end of an eleven-year journey. The merger allows Thai Airways to re-enter the domestic market, regaining control over key routes previously handled by Thai Smile.

Merger Overview

Thai Smile's final roundtrip services from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Krabi, and Khon Kaen marked the culmination of the merger process initiated by Thai Airways CEO Chai Eamsiri in early 2023. The entire merger, including the cessation of Thai Smile's operations, took less than a year. Eamsiri highlighted the strategic significance of the merger, focusing on improving aircraft utilization, streamlining operations, and contributing to the overall profitability of Thai Airways.

Fleet Transition

Thai Smile, which operated with a fleet of twenty A320-200s leased or subleased from Thai Airways, saw its aircraft gradually repainted and reintegrated into the parent airline's fleet since mid-2023. By the end of the same year, all but four aircraft had completed the transition. The return of these aircraft to Thai Airways signifies a consolidation of resources and a unified approach to air travel under the flagship carrier.

Enhanced Service Efficiency

Eamsiri emphasized that the merger is part of Thai Airways' commitment to enhancing service efficiency. By reclaiming control over domestic and some regional flights previously operated by Thai Smile, the airline aims to optimize its operations and contribute to its overall financial health. The consolidation of resources is expected to improve service quality and ensure a more seamless experience for passengers.

Remaining Merger Business

While Thai Airways has taken over Thai Smile's flights, some aspects of the merger are still in progress. Eamsiri stated that any outstanding merger business, including the transfer of remaining aircraft to the Thai Airways air operator's certificate, is expected to be finalized by January 31, 2024. This ensures a smooth transition and complete integration of Thai Smile's assets into the broader framework of Thai Airways.

Resumption of Domestic Operations

The merger not only marks the end of Thai Smile but also sees Thai Airways returning to domestic operations. The airline, having stepped away from domestic routes after the launch of Thai Smile, is now back on nine domestic city pairs. These routes include popular destinations such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Hat Yai, Chiang Rai, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Krabi, and Narathiwat.


Thai Airways International's successful merger with Thai Smile signifies a significant milestone in the aviation industry. The strategic move, aimed at optimizing operations and improving service efficiency, has allowed the flagship carrier to reclaim control over domestic routes and further strengthen its position in the regional market. As the integration process continues, passengers can expect a more unified and streamlined experience when flying with Thai Airways on both domestic and regional routes.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

Read next

Cathay Pacific Explores Fleet Modernization with RFI

Abhishek Nayar

06 Jan 2024

Cathay Pacific, one of the leading airlines based in Hong Kong, has recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) as part of its strategic initiative to replace some of its aging mid-sized widebody jets. The airline is considering options from prominent aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus, with a focus on the B787, A330neo, and A350 aircraft types. This move aligns with Cathay Pacific's commitment to investing in fleet expansion and modernization in line with its growth plans.


Cathay Pacific's decision to explore new aircraft options comes on the heels of its recent order for six A350Fs from Airbus, with additional options for up to 20 more units. The airline's CEO, Ronald Lam, had hinted at the impending RFI during an interview in November, emphasizing the need for the carrier to rebuild and catch up on investments after navigating the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fleet Development Plans

A Cathay Pacific spokesperson acknowledged the ongoing evaluation of versatile, mid-sized widebody aircraft options that can cater to a range of missions, supporting both passenger and cargo operations. The airline has consistently emphasized its commitment to adapting its fleet to meet future requirements, and the RFI signals a proactive approach to modernizing its fleet composition.

Current Fleet Status

Cathay Pacific's current widebody subfleets include the A330-300 and B777-300 types, some of which are reaching the end of their operational lifespan. The airline operates a total of fifty-one A330-300s, with the oldest aircraft in this category being 31.11 years old and the youngest at 8.86 years. Among these, twenty-two are over 20 years old, and eight are over 25 years old. The seventeen B777-300s in the fleet range from 17.58 to 26.53 years old, with fourteen exceeding 20 years of service.

Strategic Shift

Cathay Pacific's move to explore new aircraft options reflects a strategic shift as the airline emerges from the financial constraints imposed by the pandemic. CEO Ronald Lam highlighted the challenges faced during the pandemic, stating that the airline had to conserve cash, limiting its ability to invest in future initiatives. Now, with a different economic outlook, the airline is poised to focus on rebuilding and investing in its future.


Cathay Pacific's issuance of an RFI for mid-sized widebody aircraft underscores its commitment to staying at the forefront of the aviation industry. As the airline continues to navigate the evolving landscape of air travel, its strategic decisions, including fleet modernization, will play a crucial role in shaping its trajectory in the post-pandemic era. The industry will be keenly watching for further developments as Cathay Pacific evaluates and makes decisions regarding its future fleet composition.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

Read next

Unlocking India's Aviation: The Imperative for Supportive Fiscal Policies in Aircraft Leasing

Abhishek Nayar

06 Jan 2024

In December 2023, the Aviation Working Group (AWG) dealt a surprising blow to India's aviation sector, downgrading the nation's standing from positive to negative. The pivotal factor behind this downgrade was the challenges faced by foreign lessors in reclaiming aircraft, a development with potential repercussions on the cost of leasing plans for India's commercial airlines. This shift in dynamics has prompted a call for strategic fiscal policies to support the aircraft leasing industry in the country.

The Current Landscape of Aircraft Leasing in India

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a staggering 80 percent of India's total commercial fleet is leased, surpassing the global average of 53 percent. This dependence on leased aircraft is expected to rise further as CAPA India's recent report forecasts that nearly 200 out of 789 aircraft operated by Indian carriers may be grounded by March 2024 due to supply chain challenges. In response to this predicament, the aviation industry is urging policymakers to streamline leasing procedures and entice more leasing companies to invest in India

A Call for Fiscal Incentives

Jaideep Mirchandani, Group Chairman of aviation major Sky One, underscores the need for fiscal incentives in the upcoming financial budget for the years 2024-25. With leading Indian airlines placing substantial orders for new airplanes to meet the surging demand in air travel, Mirchandani advocates for measures such as reduced corporate taxes or tax credits for both lessors and lessee airlines. He emphasizes the critical importance of simplifying regulatory processes and addressing issues like high taxes on jet fuel, a major cost concern for Indian low-cost carriers.

Navigating Legal Complexities

While the Union Government has exempted leased aircraft and engines from the moratorium under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), legal complexities still linger. As matters remain sub-judice, lessors are in a holding pattern, awaiting court directions. Mirchandani highlights the urgency of bridging gaps in aircraft recovery and repossession procedures, stressing the need to align local legalities with global standards.

The Role of the Cape Town Convention (CTC)

Mirchandani underscores the critical role of the Cape Town Convention (CTC), a framework that facilitates swift recovery of airplanes within 60 days in cases of insolvency. He calls for India to formalize and enforce CTC provisions in line with the country's commitment to the convention. The effective implementation of CTC is seen as a key factor in boosting investor confidence and facilitating smoother operations in the leasing market.

India's Emergence as a Global Aircraft Leasing Hub

Mirchandani envisions India as a key global aircraft leasing hub, given its rapidly expanding aviation sector. To attract international lessors, he advocates for favorable fiscal policies, standardized lease agreement procedures, and enhanced transparency and efficiency for both lessors and lessees.


As India strives to overcome the challenges posed by the AWG downgrade and supply chain issues, the aviation industry is rallying for proactive fiscal measures. The upcoming financial budget presents an opportune moment for policymakers to bolster the aircraft leasing industry, ensuring India's continued ascent as a prominent player in the global aviation landscape.

Read next

Ayodhya Airport Granted International Status

Abhishek Nayar

06 Jan 2024

In a significant move aimed at unlocking Ayodhya's economic potential and enhancing its global standing as a pilgrimage site, the Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given the green light to declare Ayodhya Airport as an International Airport.

This transformation is a pivotal step toward fostering economic growth and inviting foreign pilgrims and tourists to the sacred city. The government has also unveiled the airport's new name, "Maharishi Valmiki International Airport, Ayodhyadham," paying homage to the revered sage attributed to composing the epic Ramayana.

Economic Implications

The decision to elevate Ayodhya Airport to international status is grounded in the recognition of its economic significance. The move is expected to attract foreign investment, stimulate tourism, and generate employment opportunities in the region. As Ayodhya emerges on the global aviation map, the economic ripple effects are poised to benefit not only the city but the entire surrounding area.

Cultural Touch

The naming of the airport after Maharishi Valmiki adds a cultural dimension to its identity, connecting it to the rich heritage of Ayodhya. Maharishi Valmiki holds a pivotal place in Hindu mythology as the sage credited with composing the Ramayana, an ancient epic that narrates the life and adventures of Lord Rama. The decision to honor this cultural icon through the airport's name reflects the government's commitment to preserving and promoting India's diverse cultural tapestry.

Infrastructure Development

The Airports Authority of India has invested approximately Rs 1500 crore in the first phase of Ayodhya Airport, creating a modern aviation hub. The terminal building, spanning 6,500 sqm, is equipped to handle up to 10 lakh passengers annually. The architectural design of the terminal mirrors the upcoming Shri Ram Mandir of Ayodhya, giving it a distinctive and culturally resonant appearance. The interiors boast local art, paintings, and murals that vividly depict the life of Lord Rama, offering passengers a unique and immersive experience.

Flight Operations

With the infrastructure in place, major airlines such as IndiGo and Air India Express have already announced plans to commence flights to Ayodhya from key cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, and Kolkata. This marks a crucial step in improving connectivity to Ayodhya and facilitates easier access for domestic and international travelers.

Extended Runway Capacity

The airport's extended runway, designed to accommodate Airbus A-321 and Boeing B-737 type aircraft, further enhances its operational capabilities. This upgrade is poised to attract a broader range of airlines and contribute to the seamless connectivity of Ayodhya with various parts of the world.


The elevation of Ayodhya Airport to international status is a momentous development that holds promise for the economic and cultural prosperity of the region. As the "Maharishi Valmiki International Airport, Ayodhyadham" opens its doors to the world, it signifies not only a boost to tourism and commerce but also a celebration of India's rich cultural heritage. The government's strategic vision in transforming Ayodhya into a global aviation hub underscores its commitment to holistic development and positioning India on the world stage.

Read next

Air India to Launch Direct Daily Service Connecting Mumbai and Bhuj

Abhishek Nayar

05 Jan 2024

In response to the growing demand for better air connectivity, Air India is set to launch a direct daily service between Mumbai and Bhuj starting from 1st March. This move comes as a significant development, further enhancing the accessibility and convenience for travelers in the region.

Bridging Gaps in Air Connectivity

Air India's decision to introduce a direct daily service between Mumbai and Bhuj aims to address a longstanding demand from local residents for a more accessible and convenient air travel option. This new service is poised to provide a seamless connection between these two cities, offering passengers a comfortable travel experience.

Flight Details: A320 Aircraft Operation

The newly introduced service, operated by an A320 aircraft, will bear the flight number AI 601. Departing from Mumbai at 0705 hrs, the flight is scheduled to arrive in Bhuj at 0820 hrs. The return flight, AI 602, will take off from Bhuj at 0855 hrs, landing in Mumbai at 1010 hrs. The introduction of this daily service is expected to significantly reduce travel time and enhance the overall travel experience for commuters on this route.

International and Domestic Connectivity

In addition to fulfilling the local demand, Air India's new service is strategically positioned to offer convenient international connections. Passengers flying from Mumbai to Bhuj will now have smoother access to destinations in the UK, the North Americas, Dubai, and Singapore. Furthermore, the flight will serve as a gateway to approximately 20 domestic cities, enhancing connectivity within the country.

Ticket Pricing: Competitive Options

Air India has positioned itself competitively in terms of pricing for this new route. Economy tickets for the Mumbai-Bhuj flight are being offered at around Rs 5000, making air travel more affordable for a broader spectrum of travelers. In comparison, Alliance Air, which already serves this route, has economy fares around Rs 8000. The competitive pricing by Air India is expected to make air travel a more attractive option for the discerning traveler.

Alliance Air's Role in Regional Connectivity

While Air India is set to make its mark with the A320 aircraft operation, Alliance Air continues to play a crucial role in regional connectivity using ATR turboprop planes. The presence of both airlines on this route not only enhances options for travelers but also contributes to the overall development of air travel infrastructure in the region.


Air India's decision to launch a direct daily service between Mumbai and Bhuj is a positive development for both local residents and travelers looking for efficient and affordable air travel options. With enhanced international and domestic connectivity, competitive pricing, and the synergy between Air India and Alliance Air, this move is expected to contribute significantly to the growth and accessibility of air travel in the region. As of March 1st, passengers can look forward to a more convenient and comfortable journey between these two important cities.