Stockholm - SAS expands its fleet with three long-range Airbus A321neo. The planes, which are leased from Air Lease Corporation (ALC), will join the fleet of the airline from next year.
The A321LR can fly 7,400 kilometers (3995 nautical miles) non-stop, with a maximum of 240 passengers on board. Thanks to the extended flight range, the A321LR is capable to fly from Scandinavia to destinations in North America, the Middle East, and India.
Last year in April, the A321LR carried out a 4,750-nautical-mile flight in 11 hours from Seychelles to Toulouse. Airbus claimed that it was the longest flight ever made with a single-aisle twin-engine jet.
The long-range variant of the A321neo allows airlines to expand their networks to new long-haul destinations that were not previously accessible with current single-aisle aircraft. For instance, a 3,965-mile route from New York to Berlin might be possible with the A321LR.
Airbus is also in talks with the airlines to investigate the market potential of its so-called A321XLR with more flight range, which is intended to compete with Boeing's new mid-size aircraft program, the Boeing 797.
According to SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson, the A321LR is ideal for the Scandinavian airline due to its low passenger capacity and long flight range.
The Airbus A330s of the SAS Scandinavian are configured to accommodate 266 three classes. The A321LR is smaller and therefore filled faster.
SAS wants to use its new Airbus A321LRs mainly on new, underserved overseas destinations with a relatively small market. At present, the airline operates regular flights only from Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo.
SAS is still studying where to deploy the upcoming members of its fleet. Later this spring more detail will be released about the potential routes and the cabin configuration of the A321LRs.