Posted on: 05 May 2015 by Ross McSweeny
Atlantic Airways and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the airline to buy one Airbus A320, which is scheduled for delivery in late 2016, with the final agreement expected to be signed in June.
Atlantic Airways, which currently operates three A319s (one owned and two leased) is buying the larger A320 to cope with increasing demand on the key trunk route between the Faroe Islands and Copenhagen. The new aircraft – which is planned to have 168 seats, 24 more than the A319 – will primarily serve this route.
Announcing the deal, Atlantic’s CEO, Jørgen Home, remarked, "We are delighted to reach agreement with Airbus for the supply of a second, larger aircraft for our fleet. This follows the successful introduction of the Airbus A319, alongside our productive partnership with the Airbus subsidiary, Airbus Pro Sky, which has enabled the optimisation of the Airbus for operations in the Faroese environment."
The contracts for the airline’s two leased A319s expire in September 2016. The company plans to extend one of these contracts to secure sufficient capacity until the new aircraft has been acquired and while the new NORTH routes are being built up. The NORTH routes is the designation for services from the Faroe Islands to neighbouring countries other than Denmark, namely Iceland, Norway and Scotland. Twice-weekly services between the islands and Edinburgh were launched at the end of March 2015.
Atlantic Airways has opted to serve the NORTH routes with Airbus 319s for a trial period until Autumn 2016. During this trial, the company will evaluate the feasibility of acquiring a smaller aircraft to serve these routes. No decision has yet been taken as to which aircraft type may be best suited the NORTH routes.
The medium-term objective, which the airline wants to achieve within the next few years, is for its fleet to comprise one Airbus A320, an A319 and an aircraft specifically to serve the NORTH routes.
The new A320, like the A319, will be equipped with Airbus’s advanced navigation technology, RNP AR 0.1, whose development and introduction in partnership with Atlantic Airways has delivered a marked increase in regularity and consequent reduction in delays.
The Faroese carrier has so far adapted RNP AR 0.1 to Vagar Airport’s ILS system, making it the first airport in the world to use the new technology. With the system now in place, Atlantic Airways’ three Airbuses are able to approach Vagar Airport at a lower altitude and in less visibility than ever before.