SAS Said to Plan Order for 30 Airbus A320neos to Refresh Fleet

SAS Group, the Scandinavian carrier, is set to order about 30 Airbus SAS A320neo aircraft at the Paris Air Show as it upgrades its fleet, two people familiar with the planned announcement said.

The order may come as soon as tomorrow, said the people, who asked not to be identified because details are still being finalized. Sture Stoelen, a spokesman for Stockholm-based SAS, declined to comment on specific orders. SAS will pick the Leap-X engine model for its aircraft, one of the people said.

The Scandinavian airline, half-owned by the governments of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, said in November that it was looking to add about 55 aircraft to help replace older Boeing Co. (BA) 737s and MD-80s in coming years.

The new aircraft would help expand capacity to meet anticipated annual passenger growth of as much as six percent through 2016. About 2.6 million passengers flew on SAS in May, a 7 percent traffic increase, SAS said June 9.

The A320neo comes with a choice of engines between the Leap-X made by CFM International, the joint venture of General Electric Co. (GE) and Safran SA (SAF) of France, and the geared turbofan from Pratt & Whitney. Both engines promise about a 15 percent in fuel improvement.

Airbus expects to have more than 500 320neo orders by the end of the Paris Air Show, which starts June 20, reaching the milestone about seven months after deciding to upgrade its jet. Boeing, based in Chicago, is still mulling whether to upgrade the 737, the most widely flow plane, or offer a new single-aisle model for the largest slice of the commercial-aircraft industry.

SAS in November said it was also weighing Bombardier Inc (BBD/B)’s brand-new CSeries model along with 737 from Boeing and the Airbus aircraft. Bombardier’s CSeries uses a version of the geared turbofan exclusively.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rachel Layne in Paris at rlayne@bloomberg.net; Andrea Rothman in Paris at aerothman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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