MIAMI – SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK) announced that it anticipates the delivery of the last of three A321-200neo(LR)s to be delayed to SAS’ Fiscal Year 2022 due to production setbacks at Airbus.
The news of the expected delay came from Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Torbjørn Wist during a quarterly earnings call.
The aircraft was initially due to deliver during SAS’ Fiscal Year 2021, extending from November 2020 through October 2021, before the change in the delivery schedule took place.
In addition, the carrier has three long-range-capable narrowbodies due from Air Lease Corporation, the first of which should enter service on the Copenhagen Kastrup-Boston route in mid-September 2020.
Last December, SAS retired its last Boeing 737-600 aircraft from its fleet, two days after taking delivery of its new flagship Airbus A350-900. Ingegerd Viking, the first of eight A350-900 on order, had its inaugural flight from Copenhagen to Chicago on January 28.
Passengers on-board the new aircraft experienced “a comfortable flight, in a cabin with new seat models and unique customized SAS solutions,” said the CEO, pointing out that the Airbus aircraft was the most fuel-efficient airplane on the market.
SAS’ plans: to phase out and modernize its fleet
In its company’s disclosed Q1 quarterly results, Wist said that the goal of the acquisitions is to expand SAS’s intercontinental network, renewing its long-haul fleet with 8 A350 and its short-haul fleet with 80 A320neos, which will further reduce its environmental footprint.
Now, concerning the three A321neo(LR)s in case, SAS has mentioned before that it will want to test them on long-range narrowbody services, but that it expects first to operate them on thinner seasonal routes with limited frequencies, or on those where widebodies cannot be deployed.
Besides the A320neo family type aircraft, SK has a total of seven Airbus A350-900 aircraft on order. They are destined to displace the carrier’s outgoing Airbus A340-300 aircraft.
Additionally, approximately 20% of SK’s network is served with midsized Airbus A319 and Boeing 737-700 aircraft. Serving regional routes with aircraft of the right size is important for the carrier, both environmentally and financially speaking.
In conclusion, regardless of the delay caused by Airbus or the uncertain economic outlook due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, SK’s plans for the next three years are to take delivery of 54 Airbus A320neos as part of its fleet modernization program, thus replacing the aforementioned aircraft.