Icelandair considered switching from Boeing to Airbus in 2019. With its renewed enthusiasm for the 737 Max, this is obsolete. But Airbus is not completely out of order.
In May 2019, Icelandair presented three scenarios for the future of its fleet. The first was to follow the current course, replace the Boeing 757 with the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 and accept that the new aircraft would have less autonomy than the old ones. Scenario number two: the Boeing 757 will be replaced by the Airbus A321 LR and the Icelandic airline will fly the 737 Max and the A321 Neo in parallel.
However, scenario number three caused the biggest uproar: Icelandair, apart from some De Haviland Dash 8, a pure Boeing operator, was considering changing completely. At the time, the airline wrote as an option: “Take all Boeing planes out of service. The fleet consists exclusively of Airbus aircraft. “It was shortly after the crash of the 737 Max in Ethiopia and the landing of the model.
Icelandair excites with 737 max
The fact that this ground connection lasted much longer than expected was no longer as significant as of the spring of 2020, as the crown pandemic paralyzed air traffic almost completely. Max has been allowed to take off again in Europe since January 2021 and Icelandair began reactivating its six 737 Maxs in March. In May 2021 he received three more.
And now he draws conclusions for the first time. Late last week, the airline commented on its quarterly figures and was enthusiastic: the 737 Max is technically even more reliable and even more fuel-efficient than expected, and the scope in relation to the payload also exceeds expectations. The model “creates new opportunities within Icelandair’s route network,” says Icelandair.
Even a maximum increase as an option
In the current year, the Max fleet is expected to grow to eleven units (seven Max 8, four Max 9) and, according to the plan, another Max 8 will be added in 2022. After Icelandair decided on the summer 2020 take four Max less, it is now said that if market conditions are favorable, they would consider increasing the number again by the summer of 2022.
The airline wants to tackle the long-term fleet strategy by the end of the summer of 2021. A plan should be in place by the end of the year. A pure Airbus fleet will no longer be an option. The head of the Icelandair group, Úlfar Steindórsson, had already made a similar statement in March, the renewed enthusiasm for Max after a few months underlines it. The European aircraft manufacturer could still have the opportunity if the airline opts for a mixed fleet with A321 LR.