Scandinavian airline SAS said on Tuesday it had signed a USD$3.3 billion preliminary deal with Airbus for the delivery of 12 new passenger jets and would upgrade some of its existing aircraft in a comprehensive overhaul of its long-haul fleet.
SAS, part owned by Sweden, Norway and Denmark, said in a statement the agreement covered orders of eight Airbus A350-900 aircraft and four A330-300 Enhanced.The carrier has been eyeing an upgrade of its long-distance fleet and late last year struck a deal with unions and lenders to put the airline, which has suffered heavy losses in recent years, on a more secure footing."It will truly increase our competitiveness and strengthen our customer offering," SAS chief executive Rickard Gustafson said of the fleet renewal. "Furthermore, we are able to significantly bring down fuel consumption which will lower our costs and support our goals to reduce emissions."Airbus last week secured orders for a total of 466 aircraft worth USD$69 billion at list prices to put the European plane maker just ahead of Boeing at the Paris Airshow.SAS said export credit financing and a sale and leaseback arrangement would fund its fleet plan. The A350-900s would be delivered starting in 2018 and the A330-300s beginning in 2015, the airline added.SAS said it would also upgrade the cabins of up to seven of its A330/A340 aircraft as part of the fleet renewal. Source: Reuters
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