An affiliate company of U.S. low-cost carrier Allegiant Air has purchased 13 more McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets from Scandinavian Airlines’ parent SAS Group and the aircraft are destined for service with the Las Vegas-based airline.
Sunrise Asset Management, LLC has agreed to buy 13 McDonnell Douglas MD-82s, MD-83s and MD-87s and an additional 12 spare engines from SAS Group.
SAS Group values the sale of the 13 MD-80s and 12 spare engines at slightly more than $20 million (SEK 140 million) and says it will have no effect on the company’s overall 2011 financial results.
Deliveries of the aircraft and spare engines to Sunrise Asset Management begin immediately and are scheduled to be completed in February 2013. Allegiant Air previously purchased 32 MD-80s from SAS Group in other deals.
Allegiant Air already operates 74 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and is the only U.S. airline to operate four models of hte MD-80 family. The Las Vegas carrier operates 22 MD-82s, 35 MD-83s, eight MD-87s (a shorter MD-80 version which Allegiant Air uses mainly for casino charters and other charter programs) and nine MD-88s.
Apart from the MD-87s, which in Allegiant Air service seat 130 passengers, all of the carrier’s MD-80s seat 150 people in one-class configuration.
The MD-80 family is the workhorse of Allegiant Air’s fleet, though the carrier bought six Boeing 757-200s with which it plans to begin services between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii in 2012 and 2013.
Allegiant Air will begin Hawaii services with its Boeing 757s once it has obtained enough operational experience with the type for the FAA to certificate the airline for ETOPS (extended-range twin-engine operations) service, an operational qualification necessary for any airline to fly twin-engined aircraft on five-hour flights over the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. The Las Vegas carrier plans to operate its 757s with a single-class, 217-seat cabin configuration.
SAS says its latest sale of the 13 MD-80s is a further step in its phase-out program for the MD-80 series aircraft. SAS is replacing them with new, leased Boeing 737NGs and A320s before it begins to take delivery of 30 A320neos the company ordered earlier this year.
Scandinavian Airlines, SAS Group’s largest carrier, will start receiving its Airbus A320neo aircraft in 2016.