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Aegean invests in four extended-range A321neos to serve longer routes

Greek carrier Aegean Airlines will invest in four Airbus A321neos with extended range capabilities to serve yet-unconfirmed non-EU markets between 4 and 7.5 hours of flight time. The plans will see the carrier effectively create a “special purpose” sub-fleet of the initial four A321 aircraft able to reach further non-EU markets, mostly to the South and South-East of Greece. The new upgraded “special purpose” aircraft will be delivered to Aegean between 2026 and 2027.

The four specially configured new A321neo aircraft will feature additional fuel tanks, providing operational capability for longer flights, while a new cabin configuration onboard these aircraft will be entirely different from the carrier’s existing A321 fleet with a higher level of comfort for both economy and business class passengers. The seat count will be reduced from 220 in the airline’s existing A321neos to less than 180 seats.

Additional cabin features will also include satellite connectivity, in-flight entertainment (IFE screens) in every seat, and a premium lie-flat seat business class product.

According to the airline, possible routes for the new extended range sub-fleet include destinations in the Gulf currently served by the carrier such as Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dubai, as well as potential new services to Bahrain, Doha, and Oman. Elsewhere, the new additions could operate to destinations in Central Africa such as Lagos, Addis Ababa, and Nairobi, and in Asia with the potential to serve routes such as Delhi or Mumbai in India or Almaty in Kazakhstan.

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Aegean states that these non-EU destinations “are typically served to/from European capitals by carriers using aircraft invariably with higher comfort and lower seat density than the typical intra-European cabin configuration due to the longer flight duration and market characteristics.”

“We believe in the great opportunity for Aegean and for our country that lies in developing markets beyond the EU, either in the Gulf area, Africa, or in regions of Asia which could be served with a special, extended range, version of the A321neo given our location in the southeast edge of Europe,” said CEO Dimitris Gerogiannis.

“We further recognize the necessity of a cabin with significantly higher comfort and experience features to effectively represent Aegean’s service values, for our passengers in these markets. We are making a significant investment in the extended range and a totally new level of comfort for an initial four aircraft sub-fleet to give our crews the right tool to best represent Aegean values for these longer flight markets.”

“It’s one more big step towards growing our reach and capabilities and we look forward to welcoming our passengers from these markets to this new level of experience with us in the years to come,” he added.

In late 2023, Aegean converted three options for additional Airbus A321neo aircraft options under an existing purchase agreement with Airbus. The carrier followed this up with the conversion of five firm orders of A320neos to A321neos. Following these options and conversions, the total number of A320/321neo family aircraft already received or on order by the carrier reached 50 aircraft of which 29 are of the larger A321neo variant.

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Among the 29 A321s, 25 will feature the airline’s current standard configuration while four will be upgraded with the new “special purpose” longer range and higher comfort configuration for the proposed non-EU, longer flight time operations.

In total, 28 A321/321neo aircraft have been delivered to the carrier to date while a further 22 are to be received between 2024 and 2028.

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