Scandinavian Airlines System, or simple SAS as they are known more casually, was founded in 1946 and later became the national flag carrier for Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Today, with 75-years of history tucked under its belt, we thought we would take a look and see what Scandinavian Airlines fleet looks like in 2021.
The Scandinavian airline’s great claim to fame happened in 1954 when it became the first airline to fly a scheduled commercial flight on a polar route. Using a Douglas DC-6B fitted out with Arctic survival gear just in case, the flight took off from Copenhagen, stopping in Søndre Strømfjord in Greenland and Winnipeg in Canada before arriving in Las Angeles. Managing to cut hours off the normal flying time between California and Europe, the flight became an instant hit with Hollywood movie stars.
SAS has 134 planes
The Douglas DC-6 aircraft and all the other McDonnell Douglas aircraft that SAS operated are now long gone, as are the Airbus A340s and the Boeing 747s that it put on its long-haul routes. So without further ado, let’s take a look and see what aviation enthusiast statistics and data website ch-aviation lists as being a part of the 134 aircraft SAS fleet in 2021.
Aircraft from Airbus:
- 4 x Airbus A319-100s
- 11 x Airbus A320-200s
- 45 x Airbus A320neos
- 8 x Airbus A321-200s
- 1 x Airbus A321neo
- 9 x Airbus A330-300s
- 5 x Airbus A350-900s
Aircraft from Bombardier:
- 12 x Bombardier CRJ-900s
Aircraft from Boeing:
- 17 x Boeing 737-700s
- 15 x Boeing 737-800s
SAS wants to become an all-Airbus airline
As you can see from the above data, SAS is certainly tilting more towards becoming an all-Airbus airline and has hastened the retirement of some of its older Boeing 737s due to the downturn in travel brought about by COVID-19. In fact, if we take a look at the airlines’ future orders, we can see that ch-aviation does not have them receiving any aircraft from the Seattle planemaker.
What the order book due show, however, is the Nordic carrier having placed orders with Airbus for 35 A320neos, two A321neos, and three A350-900s. Don’t expect all the aircraft to be arriving anytime soon as SAS has already held talks with Airbus to defer the delivery of some of the aircraft until the airline industry returns to 2019 levels.
When speaking at a quarterly meeting during the height of the pandemic in Europe last spring about what the airlines future fleet would look like, now retired CEO Rickard Gustafson said:
“We are working intensely trying to right-size our fleet by doing two things. Trying to delay some of the deliveries of new incoming aircraft while hoping to deploy them later on when demand is back again. At the same time, we’re looking into how we can accelerate the phase-out of some of our older aircraft.
“There are two benefits to this. Firstly, that we’re trying to drop to free fleet size to match demand during the ramp-up, and secondly, through doing this, we might be able to reach a one-type fleet faster than we anticipated before the crisis.”
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SAS has 17 Boeing 737-700s
Originally SAS planned to have an all-Airbus fleet by 2023, but despite Gustafson saying that they might be able to expedite this, don’t be surprised if some of those Boeing 737s hang around a little longer than was previously thought.
Moving to become an operator of a single type of aircraft certainly has its advantages, but I am perplexed why SAS has not gone for the Airbus A220 to replace its aging Boeing 737-700s. Surely this would be an ideal aircraft to operate on some of the airline’s short-haul regional routes.
What do you think about SASs’ fleet in 2021? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.