Copa Airlines decided to further reduce its 100-seat aircraft fleet and thus it expects to retire up to six E190s, five of which will leave in 2019. So, the airline now expects to end 2019 with 109 aircraft, three more than 2018.
US-based Azzora Aviation plans to purchase the E190s from Copa, based on the LOI signed between the two parties.
The transaction will cause an impairment to the entire Embraer fleet generating a one-time non-cash adjustment of around US$163 million that will be recorded during 4Q 2018. The departure of these six aircraft will represent an estimated yearly benefit to the network of over $10 million.
The E190 decision will lead to slower 2019 growth, but higher long-term efficiencies and structurally lower unit costs leading to higher profit.
Copa also took delivery of its last two B737-800s and return a leased E190 in 1H 2018, while its first three B737 MAX9s arrived between August and November. The carrier expects to receive two more MAX 9s during the next few weeks to end the year with a consolidated fleet of 106 aircraft.
Copa expects to receive eight B737 MAX9s in 2019.
In regards of Copa's Colombia-based subsidiary, Wingo, the LCC will be swapping their four B737-700s for four B737-800s in 2019, which will further lower unit costs and increase profitability.
Furthermore, a fifth B737-800 will be transferred to Wingo and most likely base it in Panama.