Icelandair snubs Boeing with Airbus A321XLR purchase

In a blow to Boeing, one of its long-time customers Icelandair has placed a firm order for 13 Airbus A321XLRs, making the flag carrier a new customer of the European manufacturer.

The airline – which currently operates an all-Boeing jet fleet – is thought to have opted for the rival narrowbody to replace its ageing 757s.

The agreement, which was finalised yesterday (July 6), also includes the purchase rights for an additional 12 aircraft.

Deliveries of the next generation narrowbodies is not expected to start until 2029.

The airline is also planning to lease four A321LRs from SMBC Aviation Capital, scheduled for delivery from Airbus in the fourth quarter of 2024. Operations are then expected to begin “before summer of 2025”.

This order is the company's first for an Airbus-made product.
This order is the company's first for an Airbus-made product. Airbus

Bogi Nils Bogason, president and CEO of Icelandair, said: “We are very pleased to announce that we have now finalised the purchase agreement with Airbus. The efficient A321XLR aircraft will further strengthen our business model, increase our flexibility and provide opportunities for future growth, as well as further support our sustainability efforts.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International, added: “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Icelandair for placing their trust and confidence in Airbus. It fills us with immense pride to welcome Icelandair as a new Airbus customer. By harnessing the exceptional performance of the A321XLR, your airline is forging a path of sustainable growth with remarkable efficiency and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.”

Icelandair is the latest airline in a growing list to make the Boeing-Airbus switch. In August 2021, UK leisure carrier and long-time Boeing customer Jet2 opted for the A321neo when it ordered 36 examples. The orderbook was later expanded in two further deals and now stands at a total of 98 A320 Family aircraft and comes with the option to extend to 146.