SAS closes in on big Airbus order

Deal would include up to 50 A320neo aircraft.

SAS is in talks with Airbus about buying a significant number of A320neo aircraft for its short-haul fleet, up to 50 of them according to some sources. A deal is expected this spring after the airline stopped negotiations with Boeing, its finance chief told the news agency Reuters.

SAS is in talks with Japanese investors, Goran Jansson also revealed, about a Japanese operating lease with a call option, or JOLCO, to fund the purchase.

JOLCO is a little-known aircraft financing structure that SAS already uses, where planes are leased from a Japanese investor and the airline has a buyout option.

Out with the Boeings
Jansson, who will start a new role plotting strategy at the airline in March, has said previously that SAS needs to invest in 40 to 50 new aircraft in addition to those already on order. The list price for an A320neo is $108 million.

SAS is currently trying to renew its elderly and fuel-intensive fleet, such as its older Boeings, in the face of low-cost competition. Back in the black after years of struggling, it is forging ahead with new efforts to stay competitive, such as setting up bases outside Scandinavia to cut staff costs.

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