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An SAS A320 in Oslo. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

SAS, CFM Make Engine Agreement for Airbus A320neo Fleet

SAS has signed an engine purchase and services agreement with CFM. The agreement confirms the airline’s use of LEAP-1A engines on its A320neo family.

This comes as part of SAS’ fleet upgrade program, which aims to improve efficiency and sustainability.

The selection of CFM International’s LEAP-1A covers the airline’s fleet of 35 A320neos, ordered in 2018. The agreement also includes eight spare engines.

SAS and CFM have also signed a Rate-Per-Flight-Hour (RPFH) support agreement to cover the new LEAP-1A engines, including spares. This agreement also covers the 15 additional LEAP-powered A320neos the airline has on lease. This means that CFM will guarantee maintenance costs for all 160 engines on a dollar-per-engine-flight-hour basis.

Both the engine order and the RPFH agreement are valued at $2.9 billion.

SAS was a launch customer for the LEAP-1A engine. The airline selected the engine in 2011 to power its first 30 A320neos. Since then, the engine type has powered all 44 SAS A320neo aircraft and the carrier’s one A321neo LR.

Two further A321neo LRs are set to join SAS’ fleet with LEAP-1A engines, with 36 more A320neos on the way.

Magnus Örnberg, SAS’ Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said in an airline press release: “The new LEAP engines and long-term services agreement are an integral part of SAS’ strategic fleet upgrade and will continue to greatly improve our efficiency in our operations.

“Our goal is to be industry leaders in sustainable aviation, and we are to reduce emissions with 25 per cent by 2025, in comparison to 2005. This will mainly be enabled by using state of the art technologies allowing for lower fuel consumption and an increase in use of sustainable aviation fuels,” continued Örnberg.

CFM International’s LEAP-1A engine has logged over seven million engine flight hours in commercial operations so far. SAS reports in the press release that the LEAP engine emits 15 percent less CO2 compared to CFM56 engines. It also states that there is a significant improvement in noise emissions and better fuel consumption in comparison.

In the same press release, Gaël Meheust, the President and CEO of CFM International, said: “We are delighted to expand our long-term relationship with SAS, an airline we share the core values with. Over four decades, CFM has been working on developing leading-edge technologies that help our airline customers make their operations cost-efficient and sustainable.

“We take SAS’ trust as a great responsibility to keep supporting their operations with the best CFM standards in terms of reliability,” added Meheust.

In October 2020, the delivery flight for SAS’ first A321neo LR used a 10% sustainable jet fuel blend. This comes as part of the airline’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint. Also within the commitment is its introduction of technologies to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

The airline’s A320 and A321neo aircraft are part of its sustainable fleet renewal. Besides the A320 family additions, the airline has five Airbus A330neos and eight Airbus A350-900s.

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