Volotea (V7, Asturias) is contemplating the A220 as a potential future aircraft type but plans no changes in the next few years, founder and chief executive Carlos Muñoz said during an Aviation Week webinar.

"Airbus is a very strong partner of our company and for sure, as we continue to look at our mid-term fleet, this could be an option," Muñoz said, stressing the noncommital nature of the deliberations.

Thus far, the airline has never ordered new aircraft. Muñoz underlined that mid-life aircraft were better in terms of capital costs, particularly given Volotea's high seasonal capacity variation.

He recalled that Volotea was undergoing a substantial fleet transition at this moment. It recently retired all of its B717-200s and announced plans to dry-lease at least fifteen, and potentially up to nineteen, mid-life A320-200s in 2021, in addition to its twenty A319-100s.

"As an LCC, we think of single-type fleet as a fleet paradise. For our first four years, we only operated B717s, and then we mixed B717s and A319s. Now we accelerated the phase-out of the B717s to arrive at an all-Airbus fleet," Muñoz said, adding that despite the B717's sturdiness, they were ageing and thus increasingly challenging to operate.

He added that the current market presented opportunities for favourable lease deals. In addition, the maturity of the airline's network allowed it to upgauge aircraft.

Besides the four dry-leased A320 options, Volotea will probably wet-lease aircraft in during the summer peak, depending on the relaxation of travel restrictions and the progress of vaccinations. Muñoz said that even in 2020, during the brief summer reprieve, it was one of the few airlines that wet-leased in extra capacity. That said, he added that Volotea was hoping for a very strong summer this year due to pent-up demand.

At the other end of the fleeting spectrum, Muñoz said Volotea has no medium-term plans for any further fleet upgauges, such as adding A321s. He said that in terms of fleet size, the LCC will look to grow but refused to give any specific numbers due to the prevailing uncertainty.

The CEO underlined that even though the pandemic has hit Volotea very hard, the airline is uniquely well-positioned to cope with the crisis. In particular, it is used to high schedule flexibility and varying cost levels, so the need to quickly respond to new circumstances was not a challenge in itself.