MIAMI – Earlier this week Scandinavian Airlines, also known as SAS (SK) based a brand new A320neo (SE-RUA) in Oslo.
The A320neo will replace the airline’s current aging Boeing 737 NG fleet which has served SAS since 1998. Earlier this year the final Boeing 737 based in Stockholm were flown to and stored in Oslo due to the COVID-19 pandemic marking the end of a 21-year-old era for the base.
Stockholm is now an all Airbus base for SAS apart from the CRJ and ATR operated by CityJet (WX) and Xfly (EE) respectively. The new Airbus is now scheduled on domestic routes in Norway, the two main destinations being Stavanger (SVG) and Trondheim (TRD).
It is not the first time SAS has flown the NEO on domestic routes in Norway, back in late 2018 SAS tested out the 320 NEO on a few domestic flights.
The airline received its first A32Oneo back in 2016. SE-RUA was the 39th of them. In total, SAS expects to receive 80 A320neo by 2023. ⠀
The Beginning of the End for the SAS Boeing 737
SAS has already started phasing out many of its Boeing 737. In November of 2019, the airline performed the last flight with the airlines 737-600 they at one point operated 30 of them.
SK600 flew from Stockholm to Oslo with a flyover in Copenhagen. The author was on board that flight. Not only -600s have been retired, but a handful of -700s and one -800.
SAS originally planned to retire the Boeing 737 in 2023 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic resources close to the airline says the plug might be pulled in 2022 or even late 2021.
There are many mixed feelings about the Boeing 737 retirements and the NEO replacing the type. After all, the Boeing 737 has been flying with SAS for over 21 years. Almost 50 years if we count the Boeing 737 the airline Braathens had. Braathens was merged into SAS in 2005.
After the merger, SAS ended up with Boeing 737-400, -500, and -700 from Braathens. In 2014 they retired the classic type but today they still operate 4 of the -700s they received during the merger.
However many are excited about the new era for the airline. Many of the SAS Boeing 737 are old, and it shows. In 2017 SAS retrofitted their cabins to make their planes more pleasant to fly on.
For others, however, (author included) its the nostalgia and memories from the Boeing 737 that makes it hard to say goodbye.
But it is not the end for the 737 in Norway. Norwegian Air (DY) still operates the type and will for a long time ahead.