Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has confirmed it will replace its remaining Boeing 737 Classics and its still-sizable fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80s with similar numbers of additional 737NGs and Airbus A320-family aircraft.
These fleet decisions will preclude any SAS order for Bombardier CSeries jets in the short to medium term, an SAS spokeswoman confirms.
Scandinavian Airlines has announced it has agreed to lease five new 737-800s from GE Capital Aviation Services and has also signed a memorandum of understanding with GECAS to lease 12 737-700s. The airline has not indicated when it expects to receive the leased 737NGs from GECAS.
The three-nation airline says it will use the 737NGs to replace the three Boeing 737-400s, eight 737-500s and nine MD-80s which are based at its hubs at Oslo and Stockholm. SAS already operates 28 737-600s, 19 737-700s and 18 737-800s (and possibly has taken delivery of two more 737-700s and/or -800s recently) and already operates more Boeing 737NGs than any other fleet type.
Scandinavian Airlines also says it will replace the 17 MD-80s based at its Copenhagen hub with additional A320-family aircraft. However, the carrier has not yet announced whether it will lease or order these aircraft or if it will add A320neo-family jets to its existing A320-family fleet.
The carrier already operates 12 A320-family jets – four A319s and eight A321-200s – from its Copenhagen base and still has 23 MD-82s and three MD-87s in service, spread among its three bases.
“We are very pleased that we now can continue the process of renewing our fleet. This will reduce complexity and improve our environmental performance,” Rickard Gustafson, SAS president and CEO, said in an April 11 statement about the airline’s fleet decisions.
A Scandinavian Airlines spokeswoman confirms the airline’s decision to replace its remaining 737 Classics and MD-80s with 737NGs and A320-family jets precludes an order from the carrier for the Bombardier CSeries “in the short to medium term”, though the airline does not rule out ever ordering the aircraft.
In late November, Niklas Hardange, Scandinavian Airlines’ fleet-planning chief, told Bloomberg in an interview in Stockholm that the airline was evaluating the Bombardier CS300, the larger of the two CSeries versions announced to date, for its 737 Classic and MD-80 replacement order.
In the past Scandinavian Airlines has sold a sizable number of MD-80s to Allegiant Air and it appears likely that most if not all of SAS’ 26 remaining MD-80s will find their way to the U.S. low-cost carrier, which is accumulating one of the largest MD-80 fleets in the world to serve its fast-growing domestic network.