Why all-Boeing Icelandair adding Airbus aircraft makes sense
Such procedures are no easy task and are also expensive, never mind the fact that the aircraft is sitting on the ground and not making money while they are maintained.
From all-Boeing to some Airbus‘ aircraft?
Over the past few months, Icelandair was not the only airline circulating in the rumor mill about a potential change-up in fleet strategy, potentially as a result of the 737 MAX crisis. The aforementioned Dallas-Love Field (DAL) based carrier, Southwest, was rumored to be looking into some of the products in the Airbus lineup. However, the two companies are completely different beasts: in size alone, Southwest Airlines is one of the biggest airlines in the world, with more than 740 aircraft operated in and around the United States. The scale alone would be detrimental in making the move profitable in the short and medium-term for Southwest.
In contrast, Icelandair only has 31 aircraft in its fleet, with some replacements already coming in as the 737 MAX is ungrounded in the coming months.
The Airbus A321LR and A321XLR make up the perfect replacement for the aging fleet of Icelandair’s aircraft. While airline execs have been pleading for a “757 on steroids” from Boeing, which lingered around with the New Midsize Airplane (NMA) and recently announced that it is going back to the drawing board with the aircraft, Airbus has the two perfect variants to replace the old Flying Pencils and, potentially, the 767-300ER.
The A321LR and the A321XLR have got what the 757-200 currently has and even do more: both Airbus’ variants have more range, seat more passengers in a standard 2-class configuration and, of course, consume less fuel as they are equipped with more fuel-efficient engines. Icelandair configures its Boeing 757 in a two-class layout, seating 182 travelers. The A321LR and the A321XLR and fit 206 and up to 220 passengers, respectively, according to Airbus.
Boeing 737 MAX, 757 and 767 and Airbus A321LR and Airbus A321XLR range from Keflavik Airport (KEF) in Iceland. Image: AeroTime.
While the two are not aiming to take the throne of the 737 MAX, they are definitely the contenders for the crown of Boeing’s other narrow-body. But what about the wide-bodies, the 767s?
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