Azorra sees growing crossover market

Azorra founder John Evans.

Credit: Azorra

Azorra believes that the engine problems besetting the Airbus A220 and Embraer E2 are easing and that Pratt & Whitney has “turned the corner” on the issues that have bedevilled its geared turbofan, according to the lessor’s founder.

If that view is correct, it will be particularly good news for Azorra, which is unusual among lessors in concentrating its efforts on the smaller end of the marketplace, namely regional and crossover jets and narrowbodies (although it has recently made an opportunistic purchase of widebodies).

Azorra currently owns around 80 aircraft, the “vast majority of them Embraer E2s and Airbus A220s”, says John Evans.

The company started trading not long before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and “We had a very strong belief that there would be a recovery and that it would initially be started by regional, crossover jets and small narrowbodies,” Evans notes.

The market for crossover jets has been helped, he adds, by shifting travel patterns since the pandemic: “We learned how to work from home and so people had longer weekends and that really drove unique shifts in travel patterns that continue today – visiting relatives or taking small mini-vacations while still working remotely.”

Crossover jets will play a major role in coming years, Evans believes, with huge opportunities to replace ageing types. For example, the new-generation aircraft are the same size as the Boeing 737-300 of 20 to 30 years ago and, as airlines have up-gauged their fleets over recent years, a gap has developed in that size category.

Additionally, the Airbus A319 – a popular choice for many carriers in the early years of this century – has failed to sell well in its neo version. As a result, Air France, for example, is replacing its A319s with A220s.

North America and Europe have been two of the best markets for crossover jets to date and that the latter, in particular, will remain so.

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.