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Icelandair considers A321neo and possible all-Airbus fleet

Icelandair Group is considering switching to an all-Airbus fleet, or the introduction of A321neos to succeed the Boeing 757, as part of a long-term strategic review.

The main airline company, Icelandair, is intending to take its all-Boeing fleet from 33 to 50 aircraft by 2025, with 26 of them a mix of Boeing 737 Max 8s and 9s.

These would partly replace the 757 fleet which would fall from 23 to 19 – including a pair of 757-300s – while five 767-300s would make up the balance.

Under its current fleet strategy the 757 fleet will be phased out in favour of the 737 Max.

But Icelandair Group states, in a first-quarter briefing, that other scenarios are under consideration for the longer term.

These include accelerating the phase-out of 757s with the introduction of A321neos to operate alongside the 737s.

Icelandair Group is also looking at a possible transition to an all-Airbus fleet. It says this would involve all Boeing jets to be withdrawn as it moves to a fleet “composed entirely” of Airbus models.

The company’s 737 Max fleet is grounded, as a result of global regulatory action against the type, and this affected Icelandair’s first-quarter performance. Three 737 Max jets had been delivered to the airline in March, taking its fleet of the type to six.

Its pre-tax loss for the period reached $68.5 million, deepening by 57%, as the grounding added to the burden of fare pressure. Net losses worsened by 60% to $55 million.

Icelandair Group revenues were down by 7% to $248 million owing to a decline not only in transport revenues but aircraft and crew lease income.

The company says the grounding of the 737 Max cost it around $3 million during the quarter.

“[Icelandair Group] has initiated discussions with Boeing regarding compensation for all the financial loss resulting from the suspension,” it adds.

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