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Aviation: SAS buys new long-haul fleet

altScandinavian Airlines System (SAS) and European manufacturer Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the order of eight new A350-900 XWB and four A330-300 Enhanced.

SAS says the agreement marks the launch of SAS' long haul strategy of an extensive fleet renewal plan, options for more aircraft and a total upgrade of passenger cabins on existing fleet.

SAS recently launched a completely new service concept to create the most modern flight experience for our customers. The customer offer is backed by a comprehensive fleet renewal plan with 65 short haul aircraft already announced and initiated, now complemented with an extensive long haul fleet plan. Key deliverables within the strategy 4Excellence Next Generation have paved the way.

"I am very happy with today's announcement. Whilst continuing to deliver on our strategy and plan for a profitable SAS, we are succeeding in making fundamental changes that allows us to invest in our future as Scandinavia's leading airline - for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders," said Rickard Gustafson, SAS Group President & CEO.

With the announcement today, SAS says it initiates important measures to secure a modern and efficient long haul fleet with state of the art aircraft technology from Airbus.

The first A350-900 is due in 2018, and already in 2015, the fleet will be upgraded with the first couple of A330-300 Enhanced to replace A340 when the current leasing agreements expire. In the meantime, SAS will commence the cabin upgrade of seven aircraft in the existing fleet.

The A350 is a completely new aircraft type incorporating advanced aerodynamics, the latest materials and system technology available. It offers up to 30% lower fuel consumption per passenger seat and reduced noise by half compared to e.g. A340.

SAS will upgrade the passenger cabins on up to seven selected A330/A340.
· The upgrade will consists of new seats throughout the cabin including fully flat seats in Business Class, and throughout the entire cabin a new high definition full video on demand in-flight entertainment system.
· The Cabin upgrade is expected to be completed 2015.

(NRK/Press release)

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