LONDON – Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced that it has signed a leasing agreement with Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for three Airbus A321neoLR aircraft.

The first unit is expected to be delivered and entered into service by the first half of 2020.

It is understood that these aircraft will be used to reach markets such as the Northeastern parts of the United States to areas across Canada, the Middle East and as far as India.

Picture from Airbus.

Commenting on this deal was Rickard Gustafson, the President and CEO of SAS who explained why the A321LR will benefit the carrier.

“This is an entirely new aircraft type for SAS that is incredibly well suited to the Scandinavian market and our travel patterns. We are looking forward to launching new routes and to evaluate the A321LR in production,” he said.

Current wide-body aircraft in the SAS fleet sit 266 passengers on average, based on data from the eight Airbus A330s and eight Airbus A340s the airline operates.

The Airbus A321LR will offer more of an opportunity to fill the aircraft on new, long/thin routes through utilizing far smaller markets, similar to the Norwegian model using its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

Airways understands that this fleet renewal is part of a strategy to reduce climate emissions, as well as taking advantage of improved fuel consumption metrics, which was started through the introduction of its first Airbus A320neos.

These A320neos have offered a carbon footprint which is 15-18% smaller than previous generation aircraft in its fleet, according to SAS.

The carrier did conclude that the routes for the A321LRs will “be communicated from Spring 2019” and that decision making on cabin configuration has also begun.

It will be interesting to see what new routes will be launched by the carrier with these aircraft and whether its potential success will result in direct orders to Airbus.