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ARTICLE: Scandinavian Mandates Burnham Sterling Flightglobal October 2012

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) has retained the services again of aircraft advisory company Burnham Sterling for the sourcing of additional Airbus A320s.

The Scandinavian carrier is undergoing a narrowbody fleet renewal with different aircraft types at its three bases Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo.

In Copenhagen, SAS will replace its Boeing MD-80 fleets with used A320s. The aircraft are a “bridge solution” until the new A320neo fleet arrives between 2016 and 2019. SAS has already signed operating leases on nine A320s but to complete the entire phase out of its MD-80 fleets the carrier needs five additional aircraft of the type.

Burnham Sterling sourced seven A320s for SAS last year and the aircraft are being delivered between December 2012 and 2014.

Founder and managing director Mike Dickey Morgan tells Flightglobal that SAS is again looking at 2005-build or younger aircraft. “The mandate is similar to the one in 2011. SAS is looking for A320s powered with International Aero Engines with four to five years lease terms,” he says.

According to the terms of the mandate, SAS plans to take delivery of the five aircraft between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the early part of 2014.

“There are more A320s available than there is demand, so there is pressure on lessors to reduce lease rates,” says Morgan.

Burnham Sterling is mainly composed of staff previously at Babcock & Brown and has used an enhanced version of the 737-800 sourcing project for WestJet while at Babcock & Brown to source A320s for SAS.

“Burnham organized the process to identify sources of A320s new to SAS, evaluate bids using proprietary technology and close transactions with no maintenance reserves.”

SAS has also decided to operate Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft to replace some MD-80s in Stockholm and 737 Classics in Oslo. The Scandinavian carrier contracted General Electric Commercial Aviation Services (CEGAS) for the lease of 21 737NGs including 12 used 737-700s and nine new 737-800s. The aircraft are being delivered between 2012 and 2014.

Last month SAS announced an agreement for the sale of four MD-82/87 aircraft as well as option on a further 19 MD-82 and 10 spare engines. If the option is exercised, the additional aircraft and engines will be re-delivered on a gradual basis between the first quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2015.

In total the Scandinavian carrier will have 21 737NGs and 15 A320s entering services through 2014. SAS has 30 A320neos as well as 11 options for delivery after 2016.

By Olivier Bonnassies. 10 October 2012