Scandinavian Airlines, also known as SAS, has unveiled its initial plans for its Airbus A321neoLR, the second type in the A320neo family to join its fleet. The first aircraft will arrive from Airbus in mid-2020 with a start date of Sept. 18, 2020, debuting on the Copenhagen-Boston route.
Though a narrowbody aircraft, the A321neoLR will join the likes of the Airbus A330, A340 and A350 in the SAS long-haul fleet. Inducting it straightaway on the Boston route, which will transition from seasonal to year-round once the A321LR commences service, SAS joins a growing number of European airlines that include Aer Lingus and TAP Air Portugal using the aircraft on transatlantic routes.
The Copenhagen-Boston route is currently served by the airline’s Airbus A330 widebody aircraft. Once the Airbus A321neoLR takes over the 3,190-nautical mile route in September, it will be one of the longest routes served by the narrowbody, which has been opening up new possibilities for airlines thanks to its extended range and efficiency.
While North America is ideal for the aircraft, the airline also didn’t rule out the possibility of the aircraft serving other regions including the Middle East and India, according to a press release from the airline. New routes, however, won’t be announced until closer to the launch date.
“This is a new type of aircraft for SAS, and one that perfectly fits the Scandinavian market and the trends we see with people flying to and from the region. This will allow us to offer travelers more intercontinental routes, less stopovers and shorter travel times to and from Scandinavia,” says Max Knagge, General Manager Americas at SAS. “The aircraft is fitted with a service concept that matches the rest of SAS’ long-haul fleet, giving the same comfort and the choice of our traveling classes.”
While details about the onboard product are still scarce, the aircraft will see 157 seats spread in a three-class configuration including business, premium economy and economy classes. In business class, 22 lie-flat seats in a 2-2 and 1-1 alternating configuration similar to TAP Air Portugal and JetBlue will comprise the 7-row cabin, with alternating rows offering a throne seat.
SAS will be one of the first airlines to offer a premium economy cabin in addition to the business class cabin on the Airbus A321neoLR. The section, dubbed “Plus,” will feature 12 seats across three rows in a 2-2- configuration with its owned dedicated, curtained-off section from economy. Economy will comprise the bulk of the seating with the remaining 123 seats in a standard 3-3 configuration.
Enhanced amenities will also be featured on the aircraft including WiFi and mood lighting. The airline also touts the reduced noise levels in the cabin and 15-18 percent reduction in carbon footprint compared to older-generation Airbus A320 family aircraft.
Amid a period of unease in Scandinavia regarding the emissions produced from air travel, the airline has made strides to show its commitment to sustainability. The decision to purchase the Airbus A350-900XWB, which AirlineGeeks recently received an up-close look at in Toulouse, and Airbus A320neo family of aircraft aim to increase the airline’s efficiency and its new livery aims to be a symbolistic gesture of that endeavor.
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