DALLAS – Reykjavík based Icelandair (FI) has finally revealed the aircraft that will replace its long-serving Boeing 757 fleet. Today the carrier has revealed that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus to purchase 13 A321XLR aircraft, with an option to buy another 12.
Deliveries of the new airframes are set to begin in 2029. However, FI looks set to welcome Airbus planes to its fleet earlier and is currently in negotiations over the lease of four A321LRs from 2025.
The purchase price for the 13 aircraft is undisclosed, and financing options are yet to be determined. The company plans to evaluate financing possibilities as the delivery dates approach. Additional Airbus planes may be added in the future.
Icelandair has used the Boeing 757 for over 30 years and flies both the -200 and -300 series. It also operates several Boeing 767-300ERs and the 737-8 and -9.
The 85-year-old carrier can use the A321XLR airliner on long-range routes and explore new markets thanks to its impressive range of up to 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 km). Meanwhile, the incoming A321LRs can also handle FI’s existing route network, as it has a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km).
In the interim, Iceland’s flag carrier will continue to rely on its 757, 767, and 737 MAX aircraft. Boeing has been instrumental to the airline’s success and has maintained a strong association with them for many years.
In a statement, Icelandair’s President & CEO, Bogi Nils Bogason, said, “We are happy to announce that we have now reached a conclusion regarding Icelandair’s future fleet. We have decided that the capable and fuel-efficient Airbus aircraft, A321XLR and A321LR, will become the successors of the Boeing 757 we are gradually retiring.
“The Boeing 757 has been the cornerstone of Icelandair’s operations since 1990. Its unique capabilities have underpinned the successful development of our extensive route network and competitive transatlantic hub by leveraging Iceland’s unique geographical location to connect North America and Europe via Iceland.”
Bogason continued, “The excellent Airbus aircraft will not only allow us to further develop our proven business model around transatlantic flights but also open opportunities for future growth by entering new and exciting markets.”
The Icelandair order was a further boost for the European plane maker after Azerbaijan Airlines announced an order for twelve Airbus A320neo family aircraft for its fleet renewal.
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Feature Image: Airbus.