SAS’s First Airbus A321LR Will Debut To Boston In September

SAS has revealed the delivery date and the first route for its forthcoming A321LR. The airline will debut this new narrowbody aircraft on a transatlantic service between Copenhagen and Boston, with tickets on sale for this next week. The first A321LR is slated for delivery on the 18th of September 2020.

SAS A321neo
The SAS A321LR will be delivered in mid-September 2020. Photo: SAS

The first A321LR for SAS

As part of SAS’s ongoing fleet revamp, the airline is expecting delivery of its first A321LR on September 18th 2020. The long-range narrowbody aircraft brings some huge improvements in efficiency as well as more flexibility for the SAS fleet.

Karl Sandlund, EVP & Chief Commercial Officer commented in a press release,

“This is an entirely new aircraft type for SAS, which is incredibly well suited to the Scandinavian market and emerging travel patterns to and from the region. It gives SAS an opportunity to offer travelers more intercontinental routes, fewer stopovers and shorter travel times to and from Scandinavia. The new aircraft is equipped with a service concept at par with the rest of SAS’ long-haul fleet, offering passengers all the benefits, level of comfort and choices of our traveling classes,”

The first route will be Copenhagen to Boston. Photo: SAS

The first route for the A321LR will be Copenhagen to Boston. With this new aircraft, this route will become a year-round service with high frequency, giving SAS a firm foothold in the lucrative transatlantic market. The airline says tickets for this service can be purchased from the 20th of November 2019.

As more aircraft join the fleet, more routes will be added. SAS said they will confirm these routes in 2020, but pointed out that the LR version of the A321neo has the capacity not only to reach North America, but also Canada, the Middle East and India from Scandinavia.

SAS has gone for a three class configuration on the A321LR. It offers 22 business class seats, fitted out with lie flat beds, 12 premium economy and 123 economy seats. All seats have IFE screens and power, either by universal AC outlets or high power USB. There will also be WiFI on board.

Full fleet renewal

As well as looking at these new, highly efficient narrowbodies, SAS is inducting eight new A350-900XWB to its fleet. The first of these has been seen around Toulouse in a stunning new SAS livery, taking its test flights before being delivered to SAS sometime next month.

Ingegerd Viking makes its maiden flight in Toulouse, France. Photo: SAS

As the modern A350 widebody aircraft enter the fleet, SAS is retiring the older quadjet A340 from its fleet. Despite being a crowd-pleasing aircraft, the A340 has been outclassed in terms of efficiency by modern twinjets and is rapidly disappearing from fleets around the world.

For its short-haul narrowbody fleet, the airline is going for the A320neo. In fact, the last of its aging 737-600s is set to be retired at some point this month. Although some 737-700s and 737-800s remain, the airline is keen to phase these out too and will become an all-Airbus operator by 2023.

Tackling flight shame

For SAS, the flight shaming movement is a homegrown headache and one which the airline is looking to overcome partly through its investment in newer, more efficient aircraft. SAS says that the A321LR has a carbon footprint of around 15-18% smaller than the equivalent aircraft from previous generations. Sandlund added,

“Reducing the carbon footprint in the airline industry is crucial and SAS aims to lead the way toward sustainable travel. We have set a target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent by 2030. The ongoing fleet renewal, including new long-haul aircraft, is an investment toward more sustainable aviation.”

an electric powered plane
Finnair, SAS and several other Nordic airlines are looking to develop electric planes. Photo: SAS

As well as this, the airline is working with Airbus to develop greener technologies for aviation, and has joined with Finnair and nine other partners to form the Nordic Network for Electric Aviation. In September, it announced a new service to allow passengers to purchase biofuel as a means to offsetting carbon emissions. Clearly, this airline is not going to let the current environmental crisis get it down.

Are you excited to see the new SAS A321LRs next year? Let us know in the comments.