Icelandair and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purchase of 13 A321XLR narrowbody aircraft, with purchase rights for an additional 12 aircraft.

The Icelandic flag carrier currently operates a full Boeing fleet, but this will change from 2025 as Airbus aircraft will begin to replace the carrier’s Boeing 757 aircraft.

While deliveries will begin in 2029, Icelandair is currently in an “advanced state of negotiations” with Airbus regarding four leased A321LR aircraft, which it intends to start operating in 2025.

Icelandair says that the acquisition of the Airbus aircraft will “reduce operating costs, further support Icelandair’s sustainability targets and offer exceptional customer experience”.

The carrier also highlighted the “opportunities to enter new markets” thanks to the A321XLR’s range of up to 8,700km, which would enable Icelandair to operate the aircraft on its long-haul destinations.

The A321LR, meanwhile, has a range of up to 7,400km and will be used to service Icelandair’s current route network.

The A321XLR and A321LR will have around 190 seats in Icelandair’s layout, while the existing 757-200 has 183 seats.

The airline said that its existing Boeing 757, 767 and 737 MAX aircraft will “continue to be important” for its operations in the coming years. Bogi Nils Bogason, president and CEO of Icelandair, commented:

The Boeing 757 has been the cornerstone of Icelandair’s operations since 1990. Its unique capabilities have underpinned the successful development of our extensive route network and competitive transatlantic hub by leveraging Iceland’s unique geographical location to connect North America and Europe via Iceland.

“The excellent Airbus aircraft will not only allow us to further develop our proven business model around transatlantic flights but also open opportunities for future growth by entering new and exciting markets.”

The agreed purchase price of the 13 aircraft is confidential, with the financing of the aircraft “yet to be determined”.

See our forum post on the topic.

We recently travelled on the airline’s B757-200 on a trip to Reykjavik:

Flight review: Icelandair B757-300 economy London-Reykjavik