Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to order eight Airbus A350-900s and four A330-300 Enhanced jets, as part of its strategy to modernize its fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft.
SAS has also optioned six additional A50-900s. At list prices, the carrier values its planned firm order at $3.3 billion and says it plans to finance the aircraft by means of export credit guaranteed-financing and by sale/leaseback transactions.
The agreement was signed in Oslo, Norway’s capital and one of Scandinavian Airlines’ three major hub cities, along with Copenhagen and Stockholm.
Scandinavian Airlines’ new Airbus A350-900 jets and A330-300 Enhanced widebodies will join the airline’s existing fleet of 30 Airbus aircraft.
SAS already has four A330-300s in its fleet but since these are now more than a decade old it is possible SAS may ultimately want to use its new Airbus A330-300 Enhanced widebodies to replace its existing examples.
The carrier also currently operates seven Airbus A340-300 long-haul jets and it appears likely SAS will want to use its new A350-900s to replace the fleet of four-engine A340s as they become increasingly obsolescent.
According to SAS Group, Scandinavian Airlines’ first A350-900 is due in 2018. The carrier will take delivery of its first two new A330-300s in 2015 and the airline will initially use these aircraft to replace two A340s when the leasing agreements on those aircraft expire. In the meantime, SAS will begin upgrading the cabins of seven aircraft in its existing fleet.
Engine selection for the A330s will be announced by the airline at a later date, according to Airbus. Scandinavian Airlines’ existing A330-300s are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772 engines.
“The great technological improvements of this extensive fleet renewal plan give SAS a long-haul fleet that will be top of class in the industry,” says Rickard Gustafson, president & CEO of SAS Group. “It will truly increase our competitiveness and strengthen our customer offering – both with regard to comfort, service and efficiency. We look forward to welcoming our passengers on board these fuel efficient aircraft with extremely comfortable and quiet cabins.”
The Airbus A350 XWB is an new, mid-size, long-range widebody family comprising three versions, which seat from 270 to 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts.
Airbus has won orders for well over 1,200 A330-family jets and around 900 aircraft are flying with more than 100 operators worldwide. The family spans 250 to 300 seats, and includes Freighter, VIP, and Military Transport/Tanker variants.
SAS also operates 19 Airbus A320-family aircraft: four A319s, seven A320s and eight A321s. The airline also has six more A320s on order for leasing on an interim basis until it takes delivery of some of the 30 Airbus A320neo jets it has ordered.