Thanks to Minh Quân Nguyễn for alerting me to these releases
Whereas at the larger end of the airliner market airlines are downsizing towards 787s and A350s over 777-9s, 747-8s and A380s at the other end there is a clear trend towards larger types. Whereas both the 737-700 and A319 sold very well the respective MAX and NEO versions of each are not. For Airbus this is no doubt partly due to the offering of the now competing Airbus A220-300. While some existing A320 series operators might be tempted by the smaller A319NEO it seems they have largely decided to upscale to the A320 and A321 instead.
Orders currently stand at only 70 units, compared to 3,752 A320NEOs and 4,037 A321NEOs. These 70 orders are themselves a little unclear. At least 7 appear to be ACJ319NEOs for Government or private customers. Aside from those Spirit has got 31 on order, although I suspect they may upgauge them to A320NEOs closer to their delivery date. The recently announced merger with Frontier must call them into question even more. Air Cote D'Ivoire also has a pair of leased examples on order. Orders from Avianca Argentina for 20 have lapsed due to the airline's closure.
Aside from the above, which doesn't make a total of 70 by far, China Southern ordered two units along with other NEOs in October 2020. The fourth A319NEO produced, which was a white tail, swiftly made its way into CZ colours by November 2020. However the two A319NEOs weren't delivered to China until February 7th and 8th 2022, joining the small fleet of A319ceos that CZ still has (10 out of 41 it once had).
Obviously the investment for a 400 scale manufacturer with an A319 mould and an A320NEO mould (i.e. Phoenix, JC Wings, Aeroclassics and/or Panda) to make an A319NEO is small since it just requires switching the engines to the A319 casting. Panda has been the first to do this since the A319NEO first flew way back in March 2017 and has just announced the prototype, D-AVWA, and the first CZ example - B-328A.
These are scheduled to be released in March and I suspect there will be other A319NEOs from Phoenix at least, although given the dirth of orders there are very few schemes to be made. Incidentally for completeness-sake I should mention that Panda are not the first company to make an A319NEO since Dragon Wings made one way back in 2014. Obviously in keeping with Dragon's Baby Buses it is pretty dire. Whilst in many ways an A319NEO isn't big news it is a new niche type and i'll probably pick up both of these releases.
I'm Richard Stretton, an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale model aircraft. This blog discusses ongoing events in the world of 400 scale.
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