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Fleet Management

Exclusive: Join Me Onboard The Brand New SAS A350

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Today I got invited to SAS’s launch event of their first A350 at Oslo Gardemoen Airport, they are showcasing their first A350 aircraft before put it into service 28 January 2020, SAS is not going to phase out any of their A340 yet, but with every additional A350 they take delivery before 2023, will signal the departure of a A340, SAS currently holds 4 more A350-XWB production slots as an option; SAS is also phasing out 5 of their A330 Classic Model fleet with A330 enhanced version, in addition, 3 Airbus A321LR model will be delivered to allow flexibility on SAS long haul routes with big seasonality. All of SAS’s A350s will be based at the SAS hub at Copenhagen Airport and will operate on seven routes during the first year, including Chicago, Beijing, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and San Francisco.


“Although SAS won’t receive any Dreamliner in the near future, but every of their A350s got a cool ‘eyeliner’.” said by one SAS pilot.


Ingegerd Viking On Display
Ingegerd Viking On Display

As I was the last group to join the tour, the staff were already busy packing up the venue, so the check in process was rushed with no time for good old formalities. Since SAS technical base at Oslo airport does not have a big enough hangar for the A350, so the tour was happening in the nice weather of Scandinavia winter, which was a great excuse for my bad photography skills.


SAS A350 Seat Map
SAS A350 Seat Map
300 seats onboard (40 SAS Business / 32 SAS Plus / 228 SAS Go)

Practical Info Of SAS A350s:

Entrance View
Entrance View

RR Trent XWB engine
RR Trent XWB engine

  • The highest cabin ceiling in the industry,
  • A high definition tail camera,
  • 8 aircrafts ordered and waiting for delivery,
  • 300 seats onboard (40 SAS Business / 32 SAS Plus / 228 SAS Go),
  • 268 metric tons max. takeoff weight,
  • 50 tons max. load,
  • 66.9 m in length,
  • 64.8 m of wingspan,
  • 910 kmph/570 mph of cruising speed,
  • 13 800 km of range,
  • 0.028 liters/seat km fuel consumption,
  • RR Trent XWB engine.

Tail Camera Installed On SAS A350
Tail Camera Installed On SAS A350

SAS Business:

Business Class Main Cabin
Business Class Main Cabin

They have changed their business cabin signage with a completely new tone of orangish gold which is not consistent with SAS’s overall marketing colour palette; though it still looked good in terms of cabin soft mood setting.

Softer Sign of Business Cabin
Softer Sign of Business Cabin

  • 40 seats,
  • 1-2-1 layout,
  • Bed measurement of minimum 196cm,
  • In-flight entertainment screen 18,5” with higher resolution,
  • PC-power and high-power USB,
  • Separate control for backrest recline,
  • New bi-fold tray table including a personal device holder and more durable seat padding,
  • A durable threshold which gives a light foot massage,
  • A new welcoming area serves as a refreshment bar inflight;

Left Column of SAS Business Cabin
Left Column of SAS Business Cabin

Overall the business cabin seating haven’t change much except their new so-called light foot message feature with their floor threshold, which I personally think to include that in their press statement is more or less of a joke.

Business Seat Middle
Business Seat Middle

SAS’s choice of Thompson Vantage XL model seating is still excellent industry-wide, this might be one of the best business class seat in Europe, surely we’ve heart a lot about herringbone seating onboard many new aircrafts this few years, overall, you will get more personal space and flexibility on this forward-facing lay flat layout.

Business Seat Control Details
Business Seat Control Details

The new bi-fold tray works more smooth in terms of easiness to open and put back, the hardware parts really clicks on this seats.

Business Lay-flat Control Panel
Business Lay-flat Control Panel


I couldn’t really wrap my head around this when SAS first include this in their press statement:

‘The business class beds measure a minimum of 196cm, with some even longer, and SAS has installed a durable threshold that also can give a light foot massage.’

SAS WELCOMES THE FIRST A350 AND REVEALS UNIQUE FEATURES

Well, not until I saw this in person, they marketed as one of the unique SAS features where it will give you a light foot message, first of all, people have to be barefoot (or with a pair of socks) to actually being able to feel anything. Most people will be wearing shoes or turn their hard-earned-cash-paid business class seat into a bed, so 80% of the time onboard passengers won’t even think about manually scratching their feet on something as ineffective as this.

This can merely count as something unique, as this is a common knowledge among any industry to use bumps to add friction which improves steadiness.

So-called threshold that gives you so-called foot message
So-called threshold that gives you so-called foot message

Welcome Area & Business Cabin Bar:

The new welcome area also the business bar area are much bigger than their old ones, it certainly adds a little modern touch to their fleet while the crew doesn’t have to work on this area during the down time of flight, which gives passengers a more relaxing corner to get comfortable and maybe have some movement in the cabin.

Business Bar Area
Business Bar Area
Wine Storage & New Espresso Machine
Wine Cooler & Drinks Preparation Area

SAS been working hard on introducing new flavours onboard, this time, they will be serving this inclusive mock-tails which is pre-bottle to mix with liquor onboard, this will be served with a new row of fancy new glasses. I see this as a positive change, as it will add something signature to the SAS brand.

Special Mocktail Onboard SAS A350
Special Mock-tails Onboard SAS A350

Also come back better than ever is an espresso machine that (rumoured) to be actually working, I can’t wait to have some nicely crafted coffee while onboard A350 flights.

New Espresso Machine
New Espresso Machine

SAS Plus:

The new SAS plus cabin is now turned to a 2-4-2 layout which is in relation to A350’s wider-ness than their older A340s, however, this meant their will be less access for people sitting in the middle part with no direct aisle access. This is a new premium economy seating SAS has ordered for their A350, I am not sure if it would actually give more comfort than their current ones.

SAS Plus Last Row
SAS Plus Last Row

  • 32 seats,
  • 2-4-2 layout,
  • 13.3” high-resolution IFE screens,
  • Include a leg rest with a foot support feature,
  • PC-power and high-power USB,
  • A cabin divider,
  • Shared snack shop with SAS Go passengers;

SAS Plus Seat Detail
SAS Plus Seat Detail
SAS Plus Seat Control
SAS Plus Seat Control
SAS Plus Seat Back Pouch
SAS Plus Seat Back Pouch
SAS Plus Foot Support
SAS Plus Foot Support
SAS Plus IFE System
SAS Plus IFE System
SAS Plus Cabin Divider
SAS Plus Cabin Divider,
Indication Sign For SAS Plus Passengers To Use The Back Cabin Toilets

SAS Go:

SAS is following industry trends of adding more seats per row with a 3-3-3 configuration, they are able to squeeze more seats by removing the crew resting compartment on passenger level like the A340s, instead they will block some rows of overhead bins to make space for the crew resting compartment “upstairs”.

SAS Go Main Cabin
SAS Go Main Cabin
Refer To The Seat Map Above In 3-3-3 Configuration

  • 228 seats,
  • 3-3-3 layout,
  • 11.6” IFE screens with high resolution,
  • High-power USB,
  • A bi-fold meal table and a water bottle holder;

SAS Go Main Cabin First Row
SAS Go Main Cabin First Row
SAS Go Seat Tray Table
SAS Go Seat Tray Table
IFE System SAS Go
IFE System SAS Go

Another way for SAS to cut space for more seats is to have this new type of curved seat back table that cut into the seat ahead which saves them a decent amount of space cabin-wide.

Curved SAS Go Seat
Curved SAS Go Seat


We also got a chance to look inside their A350s cockpit, what a marvellous modern machine bird it is, I am certainly wowed-away by all of the details went into design the interface panel.

A350 Cockpit View
A350 Cockpit View
Cockpit A350 Control Panel
Cockpit A350 Control Panel

Not only has SAS add more seats in the human-cargo hold, so is the non-human-cargo AKA, the real cargo holding space, the new A350 will significantly increase their freighting capacity and no, people can’t come down to the cargo hold from the passenger level, so it’s not true.

Cargo Door SAS A350
Cargo Door SAS A350
SAS A350 Cargo Holder
SAS A350 Cargo Holder

More Pictures From The Tour:


Overall, It’s a great initiative for SAS to open its fleet to the public, though I can’t help but thinking how the program can be improved in many aspects, there’s a well-observed level of inconsistency in terms of airline staff capability, not just SAS, you can’t expect too much these days, but a man can always hope, one day one airline will get it right.

Until next time.

A350 Tail View
A350 Tail View
For the first time in 21 years, SAS has launched a brand new livery.

Albert K. Field Albert is my name, and travel the world is my game. I began my passion for travel at a very young age, I started this website as a strong means to further explore the world of frequent flyers programs (FFP). The relationship between customers and service providers in the aviation and hospitality industry always seems to be in opposition, however, since the introduction of United Airlines’ Frequent Flyers Programm since 1972*. This has significantly eased the middle spectrum between 2 parties. While the aim of airlines is still to generate more revenue; but for us,as consumers, are also given the opportunity to participate in the bargaining and exploiting from service providers. Living in a world of globalization where big data becomes vital for simulating successful economical activities, most of us will have to travel to other locations whether willingly or unwillingly, while you hearing all this fascinating stories about others, In fact, you too, can blend into the trend. It may not sound like how media illustrates, but indeed there are possibilities for us to have more spontaneous travel without getting held back by financial situation. My website consists of reviews of airline premium cabin products,airport lounges and stay reports of 5-star hotels and their executive lounges across the globe. In addition to all of that, I care the most about their frequent flyers program and loyalty program, which also includes banking partners. Plus, I spontaneously put up reviews and news update regarding premium water brands and restaurants. The purpose of this website is to share all of this information with my audience as well as inviting you to be part of my journey.

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Fleet Management

Brussels Airlines To Reduce Fleet Size By 30% For Future Survival

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Brussels Airlines Airbus A320
Brussels Airlines, as part of the Lufthansa Group, in a press release today has decided to take substantive and essential measures to ensure the company’s survival. Impacted heavily by the continuing development of COVID-19, the airline has been met with ongoing extremely low demand and worsened financials, forcing the carrier to structurally reduce its costs to a competitive level in order to grant a future for Brussels Airlines. With the airline’s turnaround plan, Brussels Airlines will be cutting marginally profitable and unprofitable routes in an effort to tack its cost structure. The plan would result in a fleet reduction of 30% and a 25% smaller workforce. The airline is confident in its ability to safeguard 75% of its employment and grow back to profitability when expected air travel demand bounced back to normal by 2023.

Brussels Airlines Airbus A319

The coronavirus crisis is exerting unprecedented pressure on airlines worldwide, and its total revenue impact is expected to exceed 240 billion euros. The number of bookings received fell by more than 60%, and the number of cancellations reached a record high. As a result, many airlines in Europe and elsewhere have had to lay off employees. Unfortunately, Brussels Airlines was not spared from this crisis. Since the temporary suspension of all flights on March 21st, the company lost 1 million euros a day due to loss of revenue and inevitable costs such as aircraft leasing and maintenance.

On February 28, the company first announced the impact on air travel demand. The situation deteriorated week by week and the number of days cancelled exceeded the number of bookings received. Today, demand is still very low. According to analysts and experts, the demand for air travel in 2021 is expected to be 25% lower than before the crisis, and the aviation industry can only expect to return to 2019 levels as early as 2023.


“We started the year 2020 with positive results in terms of number of passengers and revenues; and for this summer, we planned a strong leisure offer as we could compensate part of the business we lost due to the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Belgium. But the Coronavirus pandemic is hitting Brussels Airlines extremely hard. We had no other choice than to temporarily suspend our flights as of March 21st and introduce technical unemployment for the entire company. This unprecedented crisis has worsened our financial situation obliging us to take substantial and indispensable measures. The restructuring is urgently needed in order to survive the current crisis and to become structurally competitive in the future”

Dieter Vranckx, CEO of Brussels Airlines



Brussels Airlines management plans to focus on achieving structural profitability after pulling the company out of the crisis, this will enable solid growth. The carrier plans to reduce its overall costs while increasing efficiency and productivity. Full positive EBIT margins will enable the airline to ensure its future, invest in the fleet and further develop its hub at Brussels Airport. In addition, Belgian domestic airlines will ensure that they continue to play a pivotal role in the Belgian economy and remain one of the core airlines within the Lufthansa Group.


The main measures of the turnaround plan includes:

  • The review of the network by focusing on the market needs and by optimizing the route profitability.
  • The adaptation of the fleet according to the network optimization: from 54 to 38 aircraft (-30%)
  • The reduction of the personnel costs by reducing the number of jobs by 25%
  • Together with the social partners, the number of forced redundancies will be reduced to a maximum extent.
  • The reduction of overhead, operational costs and the increase of operational efficiency, among others by improving productivity and further standardizing the fleet.
  • The simplification of the employee reward set-up, aiming at remaining an attractive employer while controlling the future cost evolution.

Brussels Airlines is aiming to do everything in its power to limit the number of forced dismissals. The company invites its social partners to jointly evaluate all alternative measures to minimize social impact; measures such as seasonal contracts, pensions, part-time work, unpaid leave, and volunteering to seek future volunteers elsewhere, these are just some listed options.


“The strength of our company are our employees and we do everything we can to protect our staff as much as possible. The way how we deal with the social impact is for us as important as the end goal itself. It’s the management’s responsibility to make sure that our company can survive the crisis. But let’s be clear, the intention is not only to survive but to build a healthy company with a long-term structural profitability and growth perspectives. We strongly believe in the plan and herewith in the future of Brussels Airlines.”

Dieter Vranckx, CEO of Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines Belgian Icons Liveries

Although a turnaround plan is indispensable to overcome the crisis, continued dialogues with the Belgian government and Lufthansa are still crucial. The Belgian airline hopes that talks with the Belgian authorities on the financial support needed to resolve the consequences of this unprecedented crisis will yield positive results, while it continues to seek assistance from Lufthansa on the restructuring costs.

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Fleet Management

Austrian Airlines To Retire 28 Aircraft, Keeping Future Fleet With 60

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Austrian Airlines Dash8-Q-400
Austrian Airlines’ flight operations have been at a standstill since March 18, 2020, and they are not expecting demand to recover anytime soon. Austrian Airlines’ post-crisis plan would include capacity cut by phasing out 28 aircraft as an effort to downsize their fleet due to significantly dampened demand in the medium term.
Austrian Airline B777-200 OE-LPF
Austrian Airline B777-200 OE-LPF

Following the continuing evolvement of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. it is not yet possible for Austrian Airlines to precisely forecast when the complete freedom to travel will be restored. This year Austria’s flag carrier predicts a 25 to 50% drop in demand. A maximum of 75% of the pre-coronavirus level is expected by the end of 2021.

Austrian Airlines Executive Board member Andreas Otto comments: “The entire airline industry is pessimistic. We have to assume that we will reach the ‘pre-corona level’ again in 2023 at the earliest.” 


Austrian Airlines is now preparing to realign its fleet to reflect the decrease in demand. The Executive Board came out with a statement yesterday of its “Plan for a New Start” suggesting a significant reduction to their fleet capacity.

Austrian Airlines B767 OE-LAW
Austrian Airlines B767 China OE-LAW

Austrian Airlines currently operates a fleet of 83 aircraft. They will continue to retire their originally planned 18 De Havilland Canada Dash-Q400 Turboprops following the decision made in 2019. In addition, all of their 7 A319s and 3 of the oldest B767s are to be retired by 2022. In total, they would be phasing out 28 aircraft out of their fleet while phasing in a number of old A320s to replace some of the capacity.

Austrian Airlines’ post-Covid-19 fleet plan envisages only around 60 aircraft in 2022, with only 9 long-haul aircraft. This approach is to take place in stages which in the ned corresponds to a capacity reduction of around 20%.


REGDELIVEREDSTATUSNAMEAGE
OE-LAEJan 2005Wiener Sängerknaben19.5 Years
OE-LATMar 2007StoredThailand28.6 Years
OE-LAWFeb 2005StoredChina27.7 Years
OE-LAXApr 2007StoredSalzburger Festspiele27.4 Years
OE-LAYJul 2005StoredJapan21.4 Years
OE-LAZApr 2005StoredIndia20.8 Years

Austrian Airlines B767-300 Fleet

The Boeing 767-300s aircraft to be retired are Thailand(OE-LAT), China(OE-LAW) and Salzburger Festspiele (OE-LAX), which are the oldest aircraft of the 6 of its type in their fleet with an average age of over 28 years. The other three B767s are between 19.5 and 21.4 years old. Austrian Airlines’ entire fleet age currently is at 15.4 years which is very old, They stated that their average fleet age will decrease to 14.6 after the plan is finished.


Austrian B767 OE_LAX
Austrian B767 Salzburger Festspiele OE-LAX

Despite the reduction of the fleet, as many jobs as possible are to be maintained. Appropriate talks are already underway with the works councils. We got into this crisis through no fault of our own. Now it is our responsibility to make Austrian Airlines fit for the future after Corona. We want to retain our long-haul hub, even if we have no other choice for the time being but to adapt to the somewhat smaller market. Being fit for the future also means that we must be in a position to finance our aircraft, charges, wages and investments, and of course also to repay any charges and loans from Corona grounding,” emphasises Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech. 

“We now have a plan, and hope for the support of everyone involved”, the Executive Board agrees unanimously. 

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