11 April, 2023

Icelandair to move away from Boeing to Airbus......

Icelandair is turning away from Boeing as it signs up for 13 Airbus A321XLR aircraft to replace its ageing Boeing 757 fleet and long-term plans will see the carrier slowly transition away from Boeing 737 MAX fleet.

The deal the Icelandic carrier has signed with Airbus also has options for a further 12 aircraft and the planes are scheduled to start arriving in 2029.  However,  Icelandair is currently in negotiations for leasing four Airbus A321LR to arrive in 2025.   Further additions can be expected in the years thereafter. With the acquisition of the Airbus aircraft, Icelandair will complete the replacement of the Boeing 757.

The agreed purchase price of the 13 aircraft is confidential, however, is understood to be 20% less than the current list prices. Whilst the financing of the aircraft is yet to be determined, Icelandair will explore financing options closer to the delivery dates which is expected to include a sale and lease back deal with two aircraft leasing firms. 

The A321XLR and A321LR aircraft are part of the Airbus A320neo Family of narrow-body aircraft that provide an excellent range, fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions. The implementation of the aircraft will reduce operating costs, further support Icelandair’s sustainability targets and offer exceptional customer experience through the aircraft design and unique features. The aircraft has around 190 seats in Icelandair’s layout. In comparison, the Boeing 757-200 aircraft has 183, whereas the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 have a passenger capacity of 160 and 178, respectively.

The A321XLR aircraft has a range of up to 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 km), allowing Icelandair to operate it on its long-range destinations with opportunities to enter new markets. The A321LR aircraft has a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) and will thus be able to service Icelandair’s current route network.

The Boeing 757,767 and 737 MAX aircraft will continue to be important for Icelandair’s operations in the coming years, with the airline retaining an all Boeing fleet until 2025. From then on it will have a mixed fleet and eventually phase out the Boeing jets as more Airbus aircraft join the carrier.  

Bogi Nils Bogason, President & CEO of Icelandair:   “We are happy to announce that we have now reached a conclusion regarding Icelandair’s future fleet. We have decided that the capable and fuel-efficient Airbus aircraft, A321XLR and A321LR, will become the successors of the Boeing 757 we are gradually retiring. The Boeing 757 has been the cornerstone of Icelandair’s operations since 1990. Its unique capabilities have underpinned the successful development of our extensive route network and competitive transatlantic hub by leveraging Iceland’s unique geographical location to connect North America and Europe via Iceland. The excellent Airbus aircraft will not only allow us to further develop our proven business model around transatlantic flights but also open opportunities for future growth by entering new and exciting markets.”