Boeing sees big sales potential in the evolving Latin American market, with the company particularly targeting carriers in Argentina and Mexico for sales of new widebodies.
Van Rex Gallard, Boeing Commercial Airplane’s vice-president of sales for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, calls Mexico the “darling of Latin America”. The country has a relatively-strong economy, he says, and Mexican carriers are increasingly forming closer ties with foreign airlines, which could shake up the market.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s low-cost carriers have largely already stretched the range of their narrowbodies and may soon consider acquiring widebodies to carry the next phase of their growth, Gallard says. Volaris or Interjet, he adds, could potentially use widebodies to cross the Atlantic.
“We are waiting for the widebody face of the LCC,” Gallard says, adding that the 787-8 or 787-9 would be ideal for transatlantic routes. “That’s what I see as the next more for growing Boeing in Latin America.”
Potential sales to Cuban airlines remain in limbo, but Gallard sees opportunities for orders from Panama’s Copa Airlines, which some people have speculated could become a strategic partner of Avianca. “The question is, what’s next for Copa?” says Gallard. “If Copa goes into Avianca, it would be a huge win for the Boeing company.”
Gallard says he is “bullish” about sales opportunities in Argentina, particularly sales to Aerolineas Argentinas. Though that carrier has notable labour problems, Aerolineas Argentinas will need to replace several Airbus A340s coming off leases in 2018, Gallard says.
“We believe that the 787-9 has a great opportunity” at Aerolineas Argentinas, Gallard says. “They are the most attractive airline for new business right now.”
Gallard sees opportunities elsewhere, such as in the Caribbean. He says that in the first quarter of 2017 there could be an announcement of a 737 Max order from Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines, which currently operates 12 737-800s, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer.
“The natural move is to go into the Max,” says Gallard of Caribbean.