Scandinavian carrier SAS has signed a provisional order for new Airbus planes with a list price of several billion euros. The struggling airline hopes to improve its long-haul operations and return to profitability.
SAS announced Tuesday it had inked a provisional order for 12 Airbus planes, including A350 and A330 models with a list price of $3.3 billion (2.5 billion euros). It said deliveries were to begin in 2015 under the terms of the memorandum of understanding.
The Scandinavian carrier added it had also signed an option for six more A350-900s and an upgrade of passenger cabins on as many as seven planes in its fleet.
"The order marks the launch of our long-haul renewal plan," the company said in a statement. "The great technological improvements of this extensive fleet renewal scheme give SAS a long-haul fleet that will be top of the class in the industry," SAS Chief Executive Rickard Gustafsson commented.
He pointed out that the group's competitiveness would be greatly enhanced as fuel consumption would be brought down and with it costs to reduce emissions.
The European Commission announced in mid-June it had opened an investigation into whether a credit facility to SAS guaranteed by Denmark and Sweden violated EU state aid rules with Denmark, Sweden and neighboring Norway owning 50 percent of the carrier.
"We are of the view that our participation in the credit facility was motivated from a pure business point of view," Danish Finance Minister Bjarne Corydon said. ""Therefore we do not consider this to be a state subsidy at all."
hg/dr (AFP, AP, dpa)