Air Greenland is one member of a rather exclusive club of airlines that have ordered the A330-800. Joining Kuwait Airways, Garuda Indonesia and Uganda Airlines at the end of last year, the airline is looking forward to receiving its first-ever factory fresh plane, to replace its aging A330-200. With the financing now in place, CEO Jacob Sørensen says it should arrive by 2022.
Counting down to a brand new plane
In December last year, Air Greenland became the fourth airline to place a firm order for the smallest member of the A330neo family, the A330-800. It joined Kuwait Airways, Garuda Indonesia and Uganda Airlines, becoming part of an exclusive club set to operate the rare long-range plane.
At the time of the order confirmation, it was thought that the A330-800 would arrive sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. With all the problems aviation has faced in the past 12 months, some slip to this timeline would be understandable. However, if it has slipped, it hasn’t been by much.
Posting today on his LinkedIn account, Jacob Sørensen, CEO of Air Greenland, confirmed that the ‘final piece of the puzzle’ was in place, namely financing, to press ahead with the airline’s fleet modernization plans. Sørensen accompanied his post with images of the two new rotorcraft due to arrive at the airline, as well as the A330-800, which will arrive in 2022.
The A330-800 will replace Air Greenland’s aging A330-200. OY-GRN is fast approaching 23 years of age, and has been slated for retirement at the end of this year. According to fleet data at ch-aviation, it was originally delivered to Sabena in 1998, but moved to the fleet of Air Greenland in 2002.
It almost exclusively flies between Kangerlussuaq Airport in Greenland and Copenhagen in Denmark, although occasionally it pays a visit to Thule Air Base in Greenland also. Despite COVID, it has been well used throughout 2020, averaging 27 flights per month and flying more than 44,000 NM in the last 12 months, according to RadarBox.com data.
A significant investment
Buying additional aircraft for a fleet is always a big investment, but for Air Greenland, this will be the first brand new aircraft to enter its fleet, and the single biggest investment it has ever made. While the list price of the A330-800 is 1.7bn Danish krona ($260m), the airline previously said it had brokered a deal that took the price down to a ‘three-digit million’ number.
As is fairly normal for new aircraft orders, Air Greenland will be taking a loan to cover the bulk of the cost. It will pay around 30% of the value itself, with the rest of the amount financed. Sørensen named SEB and Citigroup in his post, suggesting these entities were involved in securing the finance deal.
With all the money in place, Air Greenland can look forward to a shiny new plane arriving relatively soon. The A330-800 will be deployed on the Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen route, and will also service the new international airports at Nuuk and Ilulissat, which are due to be completed in 2023.