Austral E190, LV-CPJ (c/n 463), taxis in at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) on 29Mar18. Austral's E190's are expected to start leaving the fleet later this year. (Phil Perry Photo)
Aviacion News reports that the announced four-way competition between aircraft manufacturers Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer for Aerolineas Argentinas' order of replacement aircraft for its Austral division's 26-strong E190 fleet is really a two-way affair between Airbus' A320neo family of aircraft and Boeing's 737 MAX series, given that the airline group has repeatedly stated in recent times that the type chosen will have approx. 186 seats.
Both aircraft are comparable technically and from a performance standpoint, with Boeing's 737 MAX series considered to have the advantage given Aerolineas Argentinas' existing fleet of 31 737-800's and four 737 MAX 8's and the commonality that additional MAX series aircraft would bring. According to Aviacion News the eventual winner of the contract (expected to be decided in June) might be the manufacturer that offers the best financing package, either through purchase of the aircraft, leasing through an aircraft lessor or a combination of both. In any case, the winning manufacturer is expected to take Austral's existing fleet of 24-owned and two-leased E190's as part of the deal. The first of the winning order of aircraft is expected to be delivered to Austral by the end of this year.