Icelandair scraps plan to take A330 freighters

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Icelandair Group is cancelling plans to lease four Airbus A330-200 freighters which the company’s cargo subsidiary had planned to acquire through Icelandic firm Avion Aircraft Trading.

Avion Aircraft Trading ordered eight Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered A330 freighters last year and signed an initial agreement to transfer four of the type to Icelandair Group.

But Icelandair Group says it has decided against taking the aircraft which were due for delivery in 2010 and 2011.

“This decision is being made in order to reduce the risk in the operation of Icelandair Group, in consideration of the current economic uncertainty,” says Icelandair Group chief Bjorgolfur Johannsson.

“We are presently unwilling to take on a commitment of this size and have therefore exited the negotiations in consultation with Avion Aircraft Trading.”

Freight division Icelandair Cargo had planned to lease two of the twin-jets directly from Avion while the other two would have been purchased by Icelandair Group’s leasing division, Icelease, before being sub-leased to the cargo subsidiary.

It was intending to use the aircraft to develop long-haul routes, notably to destinations in Asia, and reduce its dependency on the Icelandic market.

Icelandair Cargo operates five Boeing 757-200 freighters. It says its strategy to develop its operations using efficient aircraft types has not changed but “will be implemented later or with other means”.

Avion Aircraft Trading earlier this year disposed of an order for eight Boeing 777 freighter aircraft by selling the slots to German bank DVB’s leasing arm Deucalion. These 777Fs are to be leased to the new Lufthansa Cargo-DHL Express venture AeroLogic.