Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is getting closer to its goal of becoming an Airbus single-fleet airline. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, the airline just implemented another step towards getting rid of its remaining Boeing aircraft, consisting entirely of 737s.
The SAS-plans would make SAS an exclusive single-type Airbus fleet by the end of 2023, barring any changes that could happen as a result of the negative impact on airlines that the COVID-pandemic has caused.
SAS fleet modernization plan
SAS is modernizing its airplane fleet to invest in the future. This is a clear sign of the management’s forward-thinking approach to future growth, regardless of the current COVID-crisis devastating the airline-world.
Environmentally friendly new airplanes mean less and a more efficient fuel burn, saving the company money and lowering pollution-levels at the same time.
SAS becoming an Airbus single-fleet airline
SAS is banking heavily on the Boeing 737-compatible Airbus 320neo to carry its short to medium-haul operations into the future. The airline will have a single-type Airbus-fleet by the end of 2023.
On April 10, 2018, SAS ordered 50 Airbus A320neo aircraft, which are to be delivered from the spring of 2019 through 2023. By then, at least 80 A320neo aircraft should be in service.
In addition, SAS has a manufacturer option to lease additional airplanes, if desired.
The neo-deliveries will completely replace the SAS-fleet of Boeing 737s.
SAS Airbus A350-900 orders
The airline has also ordered more A350-900 aircraft, with a delivery completion by 2024. The first delivery of the A350-900 long-hauler took place in November of 2019. The total aircraft on order is eight.
SAS has three orders for the A321LR (long-range). The plan was for those to be delivered by the second half of 2020. We have been unable to verify if the delivery of those aircraft will move ahead, considering the frequent business plan changes occurring with most airlines these days.
Further SAS airplane upgrades
In addition to the airplane orders, SAS is upgrading its cabin interiors and equipping the airplanes with SAS High-Speed WiFi for its passengers.
SAS upgraded its livery to a new great look in 2019.
The SAS airplane fleet
Here’s Scandinavian Airline’s aircraft fleet types and number of planes as of April 30, 2020:
A319, A320, A320neo, A321
- A319: 4 aircraft.
- A320: 11 aircraft.
- A320neo: 39 aircraft.
- A321: 8 aircraft.
A330-300, A340-300, A350-900
- A330-300: 9 aircraft.
- A340-300: 7 aircraft.
- A350-900: 3 aircraft.
- CRJ900: 24 aircraft for regional flying, on wet-lease.
- ATR-72-600: 9 aircraft for regional flying, on wet-lease.
- B737-700: 22.
- B737-800: 28.
What is a “neo” airplane?
The acronym “neo” means “new engine option”. The A320s equipped with the new “neo”-engines are fuel-efficient engines. The engines are built to be able to able to carry a larger fuel-load and travel a longer range compared to the A320s not equipped with the neo-engine.
The A320neo airplane comes with a choice of two new-generation engines:
- PurePower PW1100G-JM from Pratt and Whitney, and
- LEAP-1A from CFM International.
A320neo “childhood” problems
However, the engines have not proven perfect. Similar to the Rolls Royce engine problems with the B787 Dreamlier the A320eo’s have technical problems as well.
Common technical problems have included LPT (low-pressure turbine) failures, gearbox failures, combustion chamber distress, and engine vibrations.
However, these problems should all be ironed out with time as has usually been the case after new airplanes enter the market.
Trivia: The A320neo’s fuel-saving wingtip devices are called “Sharklets”.
Featured Image: CaptainJetson.com.
Disclosure: Disclosure: The author of this article is an independent writer for Captain Jetson Aviation and Travel News. He has no ties or stock ownership or any other interest in Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). The content or views expressed in this article is entirely the journalist’s personal opinion. For any corrections to the story, please contact us here.