Blue1 to slash 717 fleet under new SAS plan

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SAS Group’s Finnish division Blue1 is to shed nearly half of its fleet under a capacity reorganisation programme being implemented later this year.

Blue1 has a fleet of nine Boeing 717s but will be withdrawing four of the twin-engined aircraft following the new arrangement.

The carrier operates wet-lease services for SAS from Helsinki to the Scandinavian capitals, and also performs European and domestic operations out of Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Chief operating officer Mikael Wangdahl tells Flightglobal that SAS Group will require only five aircraft when it renews its wet-lease contract with Blue1 in October.

Blue1 is to enter negotiations with unions over the capacity cuts although the carrier has yet to assess the extent of any job losses.

“The change is so big that it will affect all personnel groups,” says Wangdahl.

He is unable to give details on the effects on the SAS Group route network. But he states that the carrier will try to return aircraft to lessors in order to adjust to the new capacity situation from November.

SAS Group is imposing new cost-cutting measures following a poor financial performance in the second quarter, the full details of which have yet to be disclosed.