SAS sends first A350 to storage as fleet rejection plan initiates

A Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350 climbs out after takeoff.
N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – The bankruptcy protected Scandinavian carrier, Scandinavian Airlines, has sent its first Airbus A350 into storage at Tarbes, France, after the fleet reconstruction programme they announced has initiated. The reconstruction programme will see the rejection of ten SAS aircraft in total.

The first of many

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS/SK) has sent one of their Airbus A350-900 aircraft registered SE-RSC, to storage at the facilities in Tarbes, France.

The reason behind this is the initiation of SAS’s reconstruction move, announced in early September, covering the removal of five long haul aircraft, the A330 and A350, as well as A321s, Boeing 737-700 and A320neos.

Data from shows the aircraft departed Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN), at 13.29 CET on November 29, where it completed the three-hour journey to Tarbes, landing at 16.30 CET.

Flight SK9202 just covers one of the Airbus A350 aircraft, as its sister airframe SE-RSB is next up in the queue.

SE-RSB being the second A350 on its way out of the fleet, was also flown on November 29, however it was only a ferry flight from Copenhagen to Stockholm, where it is believed to be prepared for the flight to Tarbes at a later date.

Why are they being phased out?

Simply explained, SAS are taking every measure possible to recover from their Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, which they filed for in the midst of the pilot strike that commenced in the peak travel season of summer.

If you don’t know the full story:

On July 4th, 2022, the pilots of SAS decided to perform a “walkout”, better known as a strike, after the negotiations between the leadership and the pilots, including their respective unions, failed to make ends meet.

Scandinavian Airlines CEO, Anko van der Werff, said in an interview shortly after the striking commented: ”It is primarily bad news for the airline and our customers,” as well as calling the strike in the peak travel season of summer ”devastating”.

With SAS already struggling economically before the strike, as with other airlines, especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the estimated costs of refunds and lost ticket sales coming in at an estimated $9 million daily wouldn’t make the economy of the Scandinavian carrier much better.

The strike was the final piece of the puzzle to make SAS file for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which they did on July 5th under U.S. bankruptcy court. Though, the airline was given the “all-clear” to remain operative because it met the requirements to do so.

What are the fleet rejections all about?

As previously mentioned, SAS filed for the rejection of ten airframes in September.

At the time of the airline’s entry into the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the fleet consisted of 100 aircraft, whereof 20 were owned by SAS.

The rejection letter sent to the court stated that they ”do not need the excess leased equipment for their business operations” and the engines and aircraft are ”no longer part of the fleet or the airline’s business plan”.

Amongst the rejected aircraft are 5 widebody aircraft, whereas two are A350-900s and another three are A330-300s. The other airplanes in question are one Boeing 737-700, one Airbus A321ceo, and three Airbus A320neos.

All of these aircraft are leased.

The documents filed to the Bankruptcy Court revealed what airframes are being rejected:

  • Airbus A350 – SE-RSC (MSN 391), SE-RSB (MSN 378)
  • Airbus A321ceo – OY-KBL (MSN 1619)
  • Airbus A330 – LN-RKS (MSN 1665), LN-RKU (MSN 1715), LN-RKT (MSN 1697)
  • Airbus A320neo – SE-ROC (MSN 7723), SE-ROD (MSN 7755), EI-SIF (MSN 8109)
  • Boeing 737-700 – SE-RET (MSN 32734)

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