Only 14 jets: which aircraft does Airbus rent directly?

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Aircraft leasing is an essential means of enabling airlines to operate their desired services without requiring the commitment of a full-fledged aircraft purchase. The world of commercial aviation is full of lessors spread all over the world, but did you know that manufacturers sometimes take on this task directly? Here is an overview of the 14 jets directly leased from Airbus.

Air Belgium operates three A340s which Airbus leases directly. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple theft

Three Air Belgium A340s

According to data from ch-aviation.com, Airbus directly leases a total of 14 aircraft. It does this through its Airbus Financial Services division. Of these, seven are A340-300 quadjets. These planes have an average age of 15.5 years and three are currently part of the Air Belgium fleet. Two started their careers with Finnair in 2007, the third in 2008.

Data from ch-aviation shows that, of these three A340-300s, two are currently in operation. OO-ABA is 14.48 years old and joined Air Belgium in February 2018. Airbus leases the 265 seats to Air Belgium, which in turn leases it to Qatar Airways on an ACMI basis. Data from RadarBox.com shows that Qatar Airways operates regular flights between Brussels and Doha.

OO-ABB is the second of two active Air Belgium A340-300s that Airbus leases directly to the Belgian carrier. Just like its aforementioned counterpart, Air Belgium also leases this 14.34-year-old, 265-year-old seat, providing aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance to Surinam Airways. This carrier typically deploys OO-ABB on its Amsterdam-Zandery route.

Air Belgique, Airbus A330-900, A330neo
Air Belgium plans to replace two of its A340s with the A330neo. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple theft

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The other A340s

Air Belgium’s third direct-leased A340-300, OO-ABE, is currently in storage at Lourdes. However, its lease on the 257-seat quadjet does not expire until 2023. Storage is also the rule for the remaining four A340s that Airbus Financial Services leases directly.

Three of these planes are also stored in Lourdes. Meanwhile, the fourth, F-WTBE, is currently located in Šiauliai, Lithuania. It appears that storage will only be a temporary measure for this 257-seat, 13.25-year-old, as it is expected to join Airhub Airlines under the registration 9H-HOP. Interestingly, this plane has also already flown for Air Belgium.

For the three A340s based in Lourdes, the future is less certain. This is because none of the 9H-ACX, -ACY, and -ACZ currently appear to have a new transporter lined up. These 253-seater planes previously flew for South African Airways, before leaving the ailing carrier in June 2020.

Avianca Brasil Airbus A318
The seven Airbus Financial Services A318s are all Avianca Brasil jets. Photo: Robert Underwood via Flickr

Seven A318s stored

The other seven Airbus Financial Services aircraft are all examples of the A318 “Baby Bus”. They are slightly younger than the A340s, with an average age of 13.5 years. These narrow-body aircraft are all former Avianca Brasil planes that began their careers at LAN Chile in the mid to late 2000s. All seven are currently in storage at the following locations.

  • PR-AVJ – Lourdes / Tarbes Pyrénées (LDE), France.
  • PR-AVK – Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont (SDU), Brazil.
  • PR-OND – Lourdes.
  • PR-ONH – Sao Paulo Congonhas International (CGH), Brazil.
  • PR-ONP – Sao Paulo Guarulhos International (GRU).
  • PR-ONR – Brasilia Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International (BSB), Brazil.
  • PR-ONO – São José dos Campos-Professor Urbano Ernesto Stumpf International (SJK), Brazil.

It will be interesting to see if these rare aircraft find new life elsewhere, as only two airlines currently operate scheduled A318 flights.

Did you know that Airbus directly leases a selection of jets? Maybe you’ve even flown on one yourself? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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