Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of 13 Airbus A321XLR aircraft with purchase rights for additional 12 aircraft. The aircraft deliveries will start in 2029.
Icelandair, however, plans to start operating Airbus aircraft in 2025 and is currently in advanced stage of negotiations in relation to four leased Airbus A321LR for that purpose.
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.
The A321XLR and A321LR aircraft are part of the Airbus A320neo Family of narrow-body aircraft that provide excellent range, fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions. The implementation of the aircraft will reduce operating costs, further support Icelandair’s sustainability targets and offer 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. 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.”