Aircraft lessor Aircastle Limited said it has repossessed its 10 Airbus A320-200 aircraft that were previously on lease to struggling Avianca Brazil.
The company said that the aircraft are now transitioning to committed long-term leases with a major international carrier. Avianca Brazil has been unable to keep up with leasing payments on the A320s.
Aircastle’s chief executive officer, Mike Inglese said: “We are pleased to have reached an important milestone in the transition of these aircraft to a new global operator.
“In line with our expectations that these highly in-demand modern aircraft would be quickly placed, we now anticipate that these aircraft will return to service on their new leases during the current quarter.”
The airline, Brazil’s fourth largest, has been fighting lessors in the bankruptcy court, told civil aviation regulator ANAC on Friday it was ending 48 flight frequencies — which is about a quarter of its capacity — due to a declining fleet.
Avianca Brazil said in a statement on Friday it was cancelling routes starting with 179 flights from Saturday to Wednesday: “Avianca Brasil informs that due to a possible reduction of its fleet and in order to minimize the impact on its operation and its passengers, it has decided to make occasional cancellations of flights as listed below, which will be updated daily according to any adjustments.”
On Monday, Avianca Brasil then cancelled an additional 150 flights from Thursday through Saturday but did not make public its plans for those routes afterwards. Avianca Brasil is now operating a fleet of 26 aircraft.
Reuters says the carrier is paying its day-to-day expenses largely with short-term loans from two of its competitors, who are looking get some of Avianca Brasil’s airport slots.
The carrier’s assets, consisting mainly of its slots, are expected to be auctioned in May as part of the bankruptcy process. LATAM Airlines Group and Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes have already agreed for different sets of slots, reports claim.