It seems Icelandair, deeply disappointed with the 737Max 8 saga, has gone down the path of rethinking its air fleet orders.
Meetings have taken place in Iceland with both Airbus and Boeing, further discussions have happened at the Paris Air Show.
Icelandair is said to be anxious about costs and the rising fuel and maintenance expenses of its 757 fleet. It’s been dependent on the type since 1990.
The airline is said to be urgently wanting a replacement and doesn’t want to wait until 2025 for the 797-X if it materialises that soon. Boeing appear to be in no rush.
With Airbus having the A321LR now and XLR on offer and available by 2021, it’s a tempting choice and seriously matches the 757-200’s that make up the Icelandair fleet.
However, Boeing will do whatever it takes to hold on to the airlines custom, slashing prices if it has to – as it did with IAG. And it’s going to be a big and pricey commitment to go from Boeing to Airbus for crews, pilots and engineers. Unless of course Airbus mitigates the costs to get the order.
In the end it’s all about the bottom line and what makes best financial and practical sense.
On paper, the A321 family is clearly the best option – and I suspect Icelandair know it. The 797 might make sense in later years as a 767 replacement, but the fact remains they already have Max 8’s and more to come.
It’ll be difficult to get out of them and the company doesn’t want costs it can’t afford.
A lot of number crunching will be going on in Reykjavik, but a decision is expected by October.
The decision is crucial. After being downgraded to 100th place in the Skytrax listings and post-WOW’s exit, the airline is struggling to get itself in order and provide the customer experience it claims to want to provide.