Aircraft charter provider Small Planet Airlines is to modernise and expand its fleet in 2014 replacing two of its oldest aircraft with three newer Airbus A320s. This will see its fleet grow to ten aircraft in 2014, including a single unit which will act as a standby aircraft to support its pan-European operations.
At the end of August 2013, Small Planet signed agreements with Aircastle and CIT Aerospace to lease the three A320s. From next spring one of them will be based in Lithuania, another one in Poland and the third will act as the backup aircraft.
“We are already preparing for the next season. We signed the agreements regarding additional three A320s with deliveries in February, March and April 2014. This will ensure that the start of the next season will be smooth,” said Vytautas Kaikaris, chief executive officer, Small Planet Airlines.
According to Kaikaris, the backup aircraft will allow the company to protect the passengers in case of irregularities much more quickly than before thus reducing potential long delays significantly. “When our fleet was comprised of three or four aircraft, a backup unit was a luxury which we couldn’t afford. However, as the company is expanding, a backup aircraft will not only increase the level of our services, but also is a financially sound decision. The fact that we have leased a backup aircraft gives us a considerable competitive advantage over other smaller airlines,” he explained.
The lease deal continues a gradual fleet renewal at Small Planet which has seen it replace its Classic Boeing 737 fleet with A320 equipment. Over the past three years the carrier has reduced the number of Boeing 737-300s it operates from four to just one, while the number of A320s has grown from two to nine as the airline has rapidly expanded in the UK, France and Poland.