Iceland national carrier Icelandair has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus for the purchase of 13 Airbus A321XLR aircraft, with purchase rights for an additional 12 aircraft. The aircraft deliveries will commence in 2029.
Replacing the Boeing 757 fleet
In advance of the scheduled deliveries, the Icelandic carrier plans to start operating Airbus aircraft in 2025. To this end, it is currently in the advanced stage of negotiations in relation to acquiring four leased Airbus A321LR aircraft for that purpose.
The airline notes that further additions can be expected in the years thereafter. With the acquisition of the new Airbus aircraft, Icelandair will complete the replacement of the current Boeing 757 fleet.
The agreed purchase price of the 13 aircraft is confidential. The financing of the aircraft is yet to be determined but the Company will explore financing options closer to the delivery dates.
About the A321XLR
The A321XLR (extended long-range) and A321LR (long-range) aircraft are part of the Airbus A320neo Family of narrow-body aircraft. The next generation aircraft provides excellent range, fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions.
The induction of the aircraft into the operational fleet will reduce operating costs, and further support Icelandair’s sustainability targets.
As well as the operational benefits, the new aircraft also provide exceptional customer experience through the aircraft design and unique features. The aircraft has around 190 seats in Icelandair’s layout.
In comparison, the Boeing 757-200 aircraft has 183, whereas the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 have a passenger capacity of 160 and 178, respectively.
The A321XLR aircraft has a range of up to 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 km), allowing Icelandair to operate it on its long-range destinations with opportunities to enter new markets.
The A321LR aircraft has a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) and will thus be able to service Icelandair’s current route network.
Boeing fleet continuation
The Boeing 757,767 and 737 MAX aircraft will continue to be important for Icelandair’s operations in the coming years.
Icelandair has had a successful relationship with Boeing for decades and the aircraft have been a key to Icelandair’s success in the past.
Until 2025, Icelandair will continue to operate a full Boeing fleet but following the first deliveries from Airbus, the Company will operate a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
Bogi Nils Bogason, President & CEO of Icelandair said: “We are happy to announce that we have now reached a conclusion regarding Icelandair’s future fleet.”
“We have decided that the capable and fuel-efficient Airbus aircraft, A321XLR and A321LR, will become the successors of the Boeing 757 we are gradually retiring. The Boeing 757 has been the cornerstone of Icelandair’s operations since 1990.”
“Its unique capabilities have underpinned the successful development of our extensive route network and competitive transatlantic hub by leveraging Iceland’s unique geographical location to connect North America and Europe via Iceland.”
“The excellent Airbus aircraft will not only allow us to further develop our proven business model around transatlantic flights but also open opportunities for future growth by entering new and exciting markets.”