According to local media, Icelandair has started reducing its fleet size by scrapping four of its Boeing 757s. The first plane left for America this morning, where it will be demolished for parts. Three more jets are set to follow in the coming weeks as Icelandair looks to reduce its fleet of 757s and modernize its fleet.
Four planes for demolition
Icelandair had planned to retire some of its faithful 757s, but it has faced several issues. Firstly, the grounding of the Boing 737 MAX jets, which were meant to replace some of the 757s, meant the aging narrowbodies were forced to fly a little longer. Now, the sudden global downturn has forced many airlines to rethink their investment plans as revenues plummeted.
But it seems as if Icelandair is starting to look towards the future. Local media in Iceland is reporting that the airline is set to scrap four of its older 757s over the coming weeks. With a drop in demand, many airlines, including Icelandair, have been forced to store aircraft, and as recovery looks slow, many can operate using a smaller than normal fleet.
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Icelandair is thinking along these lines by sending four 757s to scrap in America. The parts will be kept and used by the airline. Apparently, the first aircraft, 29-year-old TF-ISL, left Iceland this morning for Kansas City. Another jet will also head stateside, while two more jets will be dismantled in Iceland.
According to Planespotters.net, Icelandair has 27 Boeing 757s, only 10 of which are currently in service. Two of the fleet are freighters. Icelandair’s fleet of 757s, as expected, is getting pretty old. The average age of the aircraft is 25 years.
And this number looks set to decrease even further with FlightGlobal reporting that a further three 757-200s are set to be converted into freighters. The converted aircraft have been bought by an undisclosed customer and will generate around US$21 million in proceeds for the airline.
Despite sending some of its 757s to scrap, the airline plans to keep at least a few of the jets in its fleet until 2025. The airline will keep around 13 of its newer 757s in operation while looking at long-term replacement options.
Future fleet plans
Icelandair’s plans to replace and upgrade some of its 757s were put on hold with the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX jets. Icelandair had an order for sixteen MAX jets and has already taken delivery of six of them. The airline has now cut its order to just 12 MAX jets.
Previously, the airline confirmed it was looking at more Boeing 737s. It is also considering some of Airbus’ A320neo family of jets as replacements to the 757s. However, with the current situation, it may not need to replace the jets for quite some time.
At the current time, fleet planning is more complicated than ever. The global downturn saw a drop in demand and a need for smaller fleets; it also saw the cost of fuel plummet. This meant that older, less-efficient aircraft was suddenly cheaper to run. Icelandair has to consider that it may not need to replace every 757 it scraps if demand remains low.
What do you think of Icelandair’s fleet plans? Will you miss the classic 757s when they are phased out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.