SAS signs billion-kroner deal with Airbus

Scandinavian airline will be getting 12 new long-haul airplanes as part of a strategy to improve competitiveness

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has launched a new long-haul strategy after signing an 18-billion kroner deal with aircraft producers Airbus today in Oslo.

The agreement means SAS will be revamping its long-distance fleet with eight new A350-900 XWB and four A330-300 Enhanced airplanes in the near future.

“I am very happy with today's announcement. Whilst continuing to deliver on our strategy and plan for a profitable SAS, we are succeeding in making fundamental changes that allow us to invest in our future as Scandinavia's leading airline – for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders," Rickard Gustafson, the head of SAS, said in a statement.

The deal is part of an effort to modernise passengers’ flight experience. Aside from the long-haul jets, SAS’s fleet-revamp initiative also consists of a plan to refurbish short-haul aircraft. 

"We are delighted that SAS has underscored their confidence in Airbus by selecting our A330," John Leahy, the Airbus chief operating officer, said in a statement.

The first A350-900 is due for delivery sometime in 2018, but SAS will receive its first set of A330-300 Enhanced airplanes in 2015, replacing the current A340s.

Gustafson said the new planes would make the SAS a long haul fleet “top of class in the industry”, by improving competitiveness, comfort and fuel consumption.

The A350 is designed to consume 30 percent less fuel consumption per passenger and 50 percent less sound than older A340s.

Currently, SAS’s long-haul fleet consists of seven A340-300 and four A330-300 planes as well as an additional A340 which will be leased in the autumn of 2013. 

The news comes just a day after Finnair expressed interest in a merging with SAS to create a joint Nordic airline, a revelation that significantly boosted SAS share prices.