SAS looks towards fleet renewal

photo by Larsz
ATW has reported that Scandinavian carrier SAS has announced that it will be looking to replace its fleet of Bombardier Q400s (like the one pictured above) as well as its sizable fleet of MD-80s. Last month, SAS made the decision to ground its fleet of 27 Q400s after three much-publicized crash landings in a six week period. Although Bombardier has repeatedly said that the Q400 is safe, SAS CEO Mats Jansson said in a statement that "confidence in the Q400 has diminished considerably" and that SAS "customers are becoming increasingly doubtful about flying in this type of aircraft.'' (Qantas, Austrian, and Horizon are three airlines with larger Q400 fleets, and as of right now, none have plans to ground their fleets, although Qantas did temporarily take its Q400 fleet out of service to perform safety checks.) Finding a suitable replacement for the Q400 is "a top priority," according to a spokesperson for the airline, and it is currently seeing "big interest from airlines all over the world" as it looks to sell off the Q400s.

SAS will also be looking to replace its 44-strong MD-80 fleet, and a spokesperson for the airline said that a decision could be made as early as the first half of 2008. SAS is split up into three divisions: SAS Sweden, SAS Denmark, and SAS Norway. (SAS Norway does not operate the MD-80.) Along with the MD-80, SAS Denmark operates A319s and A321s while SAS Sweden flies the Boeing 737-600 and 737-800. This might mean that SAS would order new airplanes from both the A320 and 737 families. SAS Norway, which acquired several Boeing 737-400s and -500s from its merger with Braathens, might also be looking at some newer 737 models as well.


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