SAS has successfully secured the financing for the delivery of four new Airbus aircraft. The Solna, Sweden-headquartered full-service carrier has reached a sale and leaseback agreement for one Airbus A350-900 and three Airbus A320neos with CDB Aviation Lease Finance. The agreement also includes pre-delivery payments for the financing of five A320neos to be delivered in 2022.
SAS took delivery of the Airbus A350-900 on Friday the 26th of March, 2021. The aircraft has the registration number SE-RSE and, in keeping with its Nordic heritage, has named the plane “Ingeborg Viking”. The three A320neo aircraft are expected to be delivered to SAS sometime during the spring of 2022.
SAS will sell and then lease back the aircraft
The agreement between SAS and CDB Aviation Lease Finance means that the Scandanavian airline will sell the Airbus aircraft to CDB Aviation Lease Finance and then take them back on a long-term lease. CDB Aviation Lease Finance is wholly owned by the China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co. Ltd and has its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
In a statement released today announcing the agreement, SAS CFO Magnus Örnberg said,
“SAS has previously worked together with CDB Aviation Lease Finance for other S&LB transactions, and we are glad that we have secured financing of new aircraft deliveries together with Pat Hannigan and his team. The financing enables financing of our transition towards a unified fleet with significantly lower emissions in a cost and cash efficient way.”
By selling planes that airlines have on order with the manufacturer to lessors and then taking them back on a lease, it offers airlines greater financial flexibility. This is especially important during the current crisis as it allows airlines to conserve cash. For aircraft leasing companies, it allows them to purchase planes at a discount while also expanding their portfolio.
SAS decided to become an all-Airbus airline
Several years ago, before the world had ever heard about COVID-19, SAS had made plans to modernize its short- and long-haul fleet. While deciding to commit to one aircraft manufacturer for its planes, SAS chose European planemaker Airbus to supply its future needs.
All together, SAS has ordered 80 A320neos, three A321LRs, and eight A350-900s. SAS says that the orders are a strategic step in its sustainability and development. All the new aircraft feature state-of-the-art technology and come with superior fuel efficiency and operating costs.
SAS is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden and has its headquarters in the SAS Frösundavik Office Building in Solna, Sweden. The airline’s main hub is Copenhagen-Kastrup Airport (CPH), and its secondary hub is at Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL).
Governed by its Scandanavian heritage and sustainable values, SAS plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 25% by 2025 by using sustainable aviation fuel in its modern fleet of fuel-efficient aircraft.
As of March 29, 2021, aviation enthusiast website Planespotters.net list SAS as having the following aircraft in its fleet:
- 7 x ATR 72s
- 4 x Airbus A319-100s
- 11 x Airbus A320-200s
- 44 x Airbus A320neos
- 8 x Airbus A321-200s
- 1 x Airbus A321neo
- 9 x Airbus A330-300s
- 5 x Airbus A350-900s
What do you think about SAS selling and then leasing back the planes? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.