SAS Group has decided to order 35 Airbus A320neos directly from the manufacturer and source another 15 through leasing companies, the airline announced Tuesday. Calling for delivery from spring 2019 through 2023, the order means SAS for the first time will operate a single fleet type within five years. The airline, which hasn’t yet chosen an engine type for its new narrowbodies, plans to develop its mainline European network and extend domestic services in Scandinavia. A320neos come with either Pratt & Whitney PW11000G geared turbofans or CFM Leap-1Bs.
SAS now flies 17 Airbus A320neos out of a previous order for 30. Tuesday’s order means that SAS will have placed at least 80 Airbus A320neos into service by 2023.
The order also includes options for another five A320neos with Airbus, and SAS holds the option to increase the number of aircraft it takes from from lessors. The airline said it would finance the aircraft through a combination of direct leases, sale and leaseback, and cash flow generated by its own operations. All of the aircraft will come equipped with SAS’s high-speed Wi-Fi and the airline’s new cabin interiors.
“Just over one year ago, we started to phase into service brand-new Airbus A320neos, and since then we have received a very positive response from our customers. I’m therefore delighted that, through this order, we can continue improving and investing in our customer offering, and thereby SAS’s future,” said SAS president and CEO Rickard Gustafson. “We are also creating a single-type and more efficient fleet for the first time. Ordering 50 Airbus A320neos gives us access to the market’s most efficient aircraft, thereby enabling us to further improve our operational efficiency and to continue to reduce our climate-impacting emissions."
During the 2010s, SAS worked on harmonizing and simplifying its aircraft fleet. Today, it operates two aircraft types within Europe, compared with six different types in 2012. In line with the deliveries of the new Airbus A320neos, SAS will begin phasing out its Boeing 737s and the existing Airbus A320s. At the same time, it plans to further simplify its fleet into a single type consisting of Airbus aircraft on short-, medium- and long-haul routes.