German leisure airline Condor announced an order for 16 A330-900, planning a complete refresh of its long-haul fleet. The carrier will be the launch customer in Germany for the newer generation of the Airbus mid-sized long-haul aircraft. The first aircraft delivery is slated for Autumn 2022, with the full complement in service by mid-2024.
With our modern long-haul fleet, we will inseparably combine sustainability and holidays with Condor in future.– Ralf Teckentrup, CEO of Condor
Condor focuses heavily on the fuel efficiency of the new aircraft in its order announcement, noting fuel consumption per passenger per 100km will be 2.1 liters, “which makes Condor the European frontrunner on long-haul flights.”
Condor will retain its three-cabin interior, offering business class, premium economy, and economy seating. Further details on the interiors are not included in the news, though the planes will almost certainly seat more than the todays 767s. The current fleet carries ~250 seats on board; the A330neo should be able to boost that by 20% without compromising passenger comfort.
The company does promise “The latest generation of in-flight entertainment with WLAN on board,” though it is unclear if the latter means streaming IFE or real internet connectivity on the new planes.
The current fleet of 15 767-300s range from 20-30 years old. The newer planes promise dramatic improvements in fuel efficiency, as well as quieter operations.
The 20-30 year-old fleet of 767s is ripe for conversion to cargo aircraft, something the lessor owners will likely be keen to pursue.
The carrier must contend with increased competition from Lufthansa Group’s new long-haul play, Eurowings Discover and its fleet of A330-300s. Moreover, Condor recently lost access to preferred rates for short-haul connecting traffic on Lufthansa. It filed an objection to a US DOT codeshare application from Eurowings Discover and Lufthansa Group, but that is unlikely to help the carrier enough, even if it succeeds.
Converting from Boeing to Airbus
What triggered the carrier to shift from Boeing to Airbus for its flagship product? Perhaps aircraft availability is a factor, given the relatively short timeline to first delivery.
Or maybe the operating efficiency at relatively higher cabin density and mid-range trip lengths (8-10 hours, not the ultra long routes the 787-9 can handle) tipped the scales. Or perhaps the fact that Airbus is readily delivering its A330s now, while Boeing continues to struggle with build quality issues on the 787s.
Regardless of the reason(s) for the move, it is a big win for Airbus.
A favor to ask while you're here...
Did you enjoy the content? Or learn something useful? Or generally just think this is the type of story you'd like to see more of? Consider supporting the site through a donation (any amount helps). It helps keep me independent and avoiding the credit card schlock.