SAS Group to remove MD-90s through lease to US carrier

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SAS Group is to withdraw its Boeing MD-90 aircraft from its fleet after reaching a lease agreement with a US carrier for the eight aircraft.

The identity of the US operator has not been disclosed. Delta Air Lines is the only carrier currently using the type in the USA, with a fleet of around 20.

SAS Group's Finnish division Blue1 has five of the SAS MD-90s. Swiss carrier Hello operates three other MD-90s formerly in the SAS Group fleet.

Phase-out of the MD-90s is set to start in the third quarter of this year. SAS Group says the twin-engined type is a "niche" aircraft and that the company wants to simplify its fleet.

All of the jets will have been delivered to their new operator by the end of the second quarter of next year. The aircraft will be leased for five years.

SAS has already been removing a large number of Boeing MD-80s from its fleet, with several being transferred to the parent of US-based Allegiant Air.