Low-cost Nordic airline Primera has been affected by late delivery of A321neo aircraft affecting its inaugural transatlantic flights from London Stansted.
Primera Air received its first A321neo last month (April 16. 2018) at the Hamburg delivery centre of Airbus. It is configured in a two-class layout with 16 premium and 182 economy seats. The intention was for this narrow-body aircraft to offer low-cost flights across the atlantic. The aircraft has arrived too late for many customers this summer, however, with a lack of time for crew training and certification meaning US charter carrier National Airlines is currently operating the Stansted to New York route until at least late July using a B757.
The Stansted-Newark flights are set to be joined by other new routes including Stansted to Boston from May 18, Toronto from May 31 and Washington from August 22. It seems that the majority if not all of these will also be operated by charter aircraft, though new flights from Birmingham to New York (from May 18) and Toronto (from May 30) will be flown by A321neos, the airline says.
Speaking with TTG, Primera said: “Airbus has delayed delivery of the first planes, which will result in slight changes in Primera Air’s May operations out of London Stansted airport and compel the airline to lease substitute aircraft to fulfil its commitments to customers.”
It added: “All passengers affected by these fleet delivery delays are being contacted by Primera Air customer service. Primera Air apologizes for the inconvenience and is fully committed to provide its services to all passengers in compliance with the highest standards.”.
The delay of the aircraft has already forced Primera to cancel some flights and operate others using a B757.
The airline has ambitious expansion plans, with new bases in Birmingham (BHX), London Stansted (STN) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) for its flights to New York, Boston, Washington DC and Toronto, along with new routes launched from the UK to Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Barcelona and Chania. The intention is for it to base the majority of its A321 aircraft, including six A321neos and two A321LRs at its UK bases. Primera Air will be the launch operator of A321LR, which is a modification of A321neo with even more extended flight range.
Primera Air president Andri Már Ingólfsson: “We are witnessing changes in aviation as long-haul flights are becoming more available to everyone. This change is brought by the new narrow body aircraft as A321neo and we are proud to operate it on our transatlantic flights.”
Primera Air is based in Denmark and Latvia and is part of the Primera Travel Group, which includes travel agencies and tour operators in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Estonia.
Passengers will be hoping the disruption is short-lived, and the service recovery for disrupted passengers becomes more organised in coming weeks.