LONDON – Scandinavian flag carrier, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has taken delivery of its fourth Airbus A320neo aircraft, supplied by Dublin based aircraft Lessor, Griffin Global Asset Management.
Six aircraft agreement
This jet is part of a six aircraft agreement that SAS are to take from Griffin. All aircraft under the deal are set to see completion of delivery by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
The six aircraft deal had to be approved by the bankruptcy court prior to delivery due to the current restructuring the airline is undergoing. SAS filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court on July 5th 2022.
Fortunately the lease deal was covered by ‘post-petition contract protection’ which meant they could continue to receive the new aircraft.
Griffin Global’s President, Marc Baer said this of the delivery: “Griffin is particularly pleased to support SAS during the current restructuring process with the addition of these latest technology, fuel efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft to their fleet.”
“The Griffin team looks forward to building a strong and lasting partnership with SAS in the years ahead,” he concluded.
This delivery may appear as nonsensical to some, given that they are bringing in new aircraft from Griffin Global that are on pre-agreed mandates, whilst elsewhere within the business looking to offload jets as part of the restructure.
The carrier currently has plans to offload both a long range Airbus A330 and a single-aisle A321neo that are both parked at Copenhagen Airport.
It was reported during the fourth quarter of 2022 that SAS had been struggling to make ends meet, failing to make interest payments as a result of the damage done to the company during the Covid pandemic.
The closure of Russian airspace due to the invasion of Ukraine, and the pressure from other low-cost rivals have also played into this.
Since then, SAS has been able to strike agreements with 13 lessors in relation to 46 aircraft and equipment to make concessions and other cost saving initiatives that will support their restructuring goals.
“We are very pleased to start this cooperation with Griffin. The long-term support provided by Griffin in these challenging times has been fundamental for our aircraft financing activities.”
“In Griffin, we are adding a reliable and long-term partner as we continue to invest in our fleet renewal,” said Niklas Hårdänge, Vice President Fleet Management at SAS.
It isn’t all bad news though, as SAS were able to report another quarter of carrying the highest number of passengers since the Covid pandemic started, which helped load factors reach 77%.
The airline states how it is looking ahead to summer 2023, where it will host a hiring drive in order to meet the expected increase in demand.
For further reading on what SAS has done to change agreements with lessors in a bid to save cash, see this piece from October 2022 by AviationSource.