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    Post Written by: Dave Williams

    Posted: 08/03/21

    The progress  of global COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts continues to have a positive impact, however, forward visibility remains challenging for airlines trying to anticipate future air traffic demand. For operators looking to make the most of sudden demand spikes this summer, aircraft wet leasing offers a flexible, short-notice solution for utilising or accessing additional fleet capacity.

    Airlines holding worldwide AOCs with ‘go now’ capacity have the opportunity to diversify into flexible, short-term aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) wet leasing contracts.

    Optimising Fleet Utilisation

    The flight-ready solution can enable airlines to start revenue flying again at short notice and be an ideal solution for carriers wanting to take-off again this summer, while navigating the uncertainty around demand. Typical ACMI market lease contract terms will be relaxed in a united effort to get an industry grounded by the pandemic, back flying again. 

    “ACMI rates within Europe have stabilised off the back of the pandemic,” Dave Williams, Director of Leasing at ACC Aviation noted.  “Wet leasing solutions are cost-effective substitutes for an airline’s own fleet and resources as they start to rebuild after a year on pause.”

    Accessing Spare Capacity to Meet Passenger Demand

    Separately, smaller airlines that have down-sized and cut capacity will want to take advantage of a shortened European peak summer in 2021, he suggested. “Turning to an ACMI solution in the peak season will provide these airlines with an immediate opportunity to retain or gain market share on popular routes. It will also add much-needed additional income, offering temporary peak season lift without the need to invest in longer-term resources.

    “Airlines and tour operators face a difficult period forecasting when demand will pick up and ensuring they are ready to scale up services in line with that demand. It’s about being flexible so they can bring back that capacity – in terms of flight crew, operations and dispatch personnel – as and when it’s needed,” Dave Williams said.

    Since the UK Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap to ease travel restrictions from 17 May, buoyed by its successful and speedy vaccination programme, TUI UK and easyJet reported immediate surges in demand for summer flights and inclusive bookings.

    The fact is that airlines have spent the last 12 months in recovery mode – downsizing and cutting back fleet and resources, including returning aircraft to lessors.  Personnel in operations, dispatch and planning roles have been made redundant or furloughed. Flight crews have been in hibernation mode through most of the winter.  To get operations back up and running crews will need to refresh licences, book simulator time and ensure maintenance is current. This will inevitably result in bottlenecks and airlines will find themselves without the capacity to satisfy the demand. Ultimately, they could lose out on much-needed revenue and income. 

    “Although there is an excess of aircraft available, post pandemic, dry leasing options (longer term leasing, no crew) will not necessarily provide an immediate solution. This still requires crew training and maintenance and faces the same bottleneck as the rest of the market,” Dave Williams added.

    Flexible ACMI Solutions from the World Leaders in Wet Leasing

    Want to find out more about ACMI contracts? ACC Aviation’s dedicated wet leasing division, previously branded ACMI24, boasts two decades’ experience helping airlines find and supply capacity with passenger and freight requirements.  The company, is contactable 24/7 working across five global offices to guide airlines considering a move into ACMI for the first time.

    For more information or to discuss your airline’s ACMI leasing requirements get in touch.