|Founded||1 August 1946|
|Subsidiaries||Scandinavian Airlines Ireland|
|Company slogan||We are travelers (English)|
|Parent company||SAS Group|
|Headquarters||Solna, Stockholm, Sweden|
SAS is an abbreviation of its full name, Scandinavian Airlines System or legally Scandinavian Airlines System Denmark–Norway–Sweden. Part of the SAS Group and headquartered at the SAS Frösundavik Office Building in Solna, Sweden, the airline operates 157 aircraft to 123 destinations. The airline's main hub is at Copenhagen-Kastrup Airport, with connections to over 50 cities in Europe. Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (with more than 30 European connections) and Oslo Airport, Gardermoen are the other major hubs. Minor hubs also exist at Bergen Airport, Flesland, Göteborg Landvetter Airport, Stavanger Airport, Sola, and Trondheim Airport, Værnes. SAS Cargo is an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines and its main office is at Copenhagen Airport.
In 2017, SAS carried 28.6 million passengers, achieving revenues of SEK 40 billion. This makes it the eighth-largest airline in Europe. The SAS fleet is composed of 157 aircraft consisting of Airbus A319, A320, Airbus A320neo, A321, A330, and A340, and Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft. SAS also wetleases Airbus A320neo, ATR 72, and Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft.
The airline was founded in 1946 as a consortium to pool the transatlantic operations of Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik, Det Norske Luftfartselskap, and Det Danske Luftfartselskab. The consortium was extended to cover European and domestic cooperation two years later. In 1951, all the airlines were merged to create SAS. SAS has been described as "an icon of Norwegian–Swedish–Danish cooperation." On 27 June 2018, the Norwegian government announced that they had sold all their shares in SAS.
SAS is a founding member of the world's largest airline alliance, Star Alliance.
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate affairs
- 3 Destinations
- 4 Fleet
- 5 Cabin
- 6 Services
- 7 Awards
- 8 Incidents and accidents
- 9 Traffic statistics
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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The airline was founded on 1 August 1946, when Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik AB (an airline owned by the Swedish Wallenberg family), Det Danske Luftfartselskab A/S, and Det Norske Luftfartselskap AS (the flag carriers of Denmark and Norway) formed a partnership to handle the intercontinental air traffic of these three Scandinavian countries. Operations started on 17 September 1946. In 1948 the Swedish flag carrier AB Aerotransport joined SAS and the companies coordinated European operations and finally merged to form the SAS Consortium in 1951. When established, the airline was divided between SAS Danmark (28.6%), SAS Norge (28.6%), and SAS Sverige (42.8%), all owned 50% by private investors and 50% by their governments.
In 1954 SAS was the first airline to start scheduled flights on a polar route. The DC-6B flew from Copenhagen to Los Angeles, California, United States with stops in Søndre Strømfjord (now Kangerlussuaq), Greenland, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. By summer 1956 frequency had increased to three flights per week. It was popular with Hollywood celebrities and film industry people, and the route turned out to be a publicity coup for SAS. Thanks to a tariff structure that allowed free transit to other European destinations via Copenhagen, this trans-polar route gained increasing popularity with American tourists throughout the 1950s. In 1957 SAS started a second polar route when a DC-7C flew from Copenhagen to Tokyo, Japan, via the Anchorage International Airport. The flight via Alaska was a compromise solution since the Soviet Union would not allow SAS, among other air carriers, to fly across Siberia between Europe and Japan, and the Chinese airspace was also closed. SAS publicized this service as "round-the-world service over the North Pole".
Acquisition of local airlines
SAS gradually acquired control of the domestic markets in all three countries by acquiring full or partial control of local airlines, including Braathens and Widerøe in Norway, Linjeflyg and Skyways Express in Sweden, and Cimber Air in Denmark. In 1989, SAS acquired 18.4% of Texas Air Corporation, parent company of Continental Airlines, in a bid to form a global alliance. This stake was later sold. During the 1990s, SAS also bought a 20% stake in British Midland. SAS bought 95% of Spanair, the second largest airline in Spain, as well as Air Greenland. There are plans to dispose of all of these holdings and an agreement to divest more than 80 percent of the holdings in Spanair was signed with a Catalan group of investors led by Consorci de Turisme de Barcelona and Catalana d'Inciatives in January 2009.
Star Alliance founding member
In May 1997, SAS formed the global Star Alliance network with Air Canada, Lufthansa, Thai Airways International, and United Airlines. Four years earlier SAS unsuccessfully tried to merge with KLM, Star Alliance partner Austrian Airlines, and the now defunct Swissair, in a project called Alcazar. This failure led to the departure the following year of CEO Jan Carlzon, who was credited for the financial turnaround of the company starting in 1981 and who envisioned SAS ownership of multiple airlines worldwide. The ownership structure of SAS was changed in June 2001, with a holding company being created in which the holdings of the governments changed to: Sweden (21.4%), Norway (14.3%), and Denmark (14.3%) and the remaining 50% publicly held and traded on the stock market.
Recent history (2004–present)
In 2004 Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) was divided into four companies; SAS Scandinavian Airlines Sverige AB, SAS Scandinavian Airlines Danmark A/S, SAS Braathens AS, and SAS Scandinavian International AS. SAS Braathens was re-branded SAS Scandinavian Airlines Norge AS in 2007. In October 2009 the four companies were once again united into one company, SAS Scandinavian System AB.
With the coming of low-cost airlines and decreasing fares in Scandinavia the business turned into the red. To be profitable again, the airline had to cut costs. In a first step the airline sold its stakes in other companies, such as BMI, Spanair, and AirBaltic, and began to restructure its operations. This was to save costs by about 23 percent between 2008 and 2011. The next big cost-cutting measure[clarification needed] followed by the end of 2011. It should generate cost savings of another three to four percent until 2015. In June 2012 the airline announced that they will extend this measure. In November 2012 the company came under heavy pressure from its owners and banks to implement even heavier cost-cutting measures as a condition for continued financial support. Negotiations with the respective trade unions took place for more than a week and exceeded the original deadline, but in the end SAS and the trade unions reached an agreement that would increase the worktime, cutting salary between 12-20%, pension and retirement plans, and thus keep the airline flying. SAS drew some criticism for how they handled the negotiations, in denying facilities to the union delegations. As of November 2013[update], there was the expectation that the company would show 2013 as its first profitable year since 2007.
In 2017, it was announced that SAS would form a new airline, Scandinavian Airlines Ireland, operating out of Heathrow Airport and Malaga Airport to fly European routes on its parent’s behalf using nine new A320Neo aircraft.
During its first decades, Scandinavian Airlines, SAS, built two large hotels in central Copenhagen, SAS Royal Hotel (5 stars) and the even larger SAS Hotel Scandinavia (4 stars with a Casino on the 26th floor). After the deregulation of European commercial aviation, and the crisis afterwards which affected SAS, like many other national airline corporations, Scandinavian Airlines sold their hotels to Radisson.
Scandinavian Airlines's head office is located in the SAS Frösundavik Office Building in Frösundavik, Solna Municipality, Sweden, near Stockholm. Between 2011 and 2013, the head office was located at Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) in Sigtuna Municipality, Sweden. The SAS Cargo Group A/S head office is in Kastrup, Tårnby Municipality, Denmark.
The SAS Frösundavik Office Building, was designed by Niels Torp Architects and built between 1985-1987. The move from Solna to Arlanda was completed in 2010. A previous SAS head office was located on the grounds of Bromma Airport in Stockholm. In 2013 SAS announced that it once again would relocate to Frösundavik.
Besides the agreements SAS has with its Star Alliance partners, SAS has strategic agreements with Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Air Canada, and United Airlines. The agreement includes code sharing and schedule coordination to facilitate improved connections between SAS and its partner airlines. SAS also co-operates with the other airlines in the SAS Group.
The key trends for Scandinavian Airlines Group (which includes SAS Cargo, SAS Ground Handling, and SAS Tech), are shown below:
|Profits (EBT) (SEKm)||−188||−1,522||−33||543||228||1,648||−918||1,417||1,431|
|Number of passengers (m)||30.9||27.0||27.1||29.0||25.9||30.4||29.4||28.1||29.4|
|Passenger load factor (%)||72.3||72.7||75.6||74.9||76.7||75.0||76.9||76.3||78.0|
|Total unit cost (CASK) (SEK)||0.94||1.01||0.95||0.86||0.81||0.80||0.75||0.79||0.70|
|Total unit revenue (RASK) (SEK)||0.91||0.92||0.86||0.82||0.82||0.78||0.70||0.80|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||181||172||159||147||145||139||138||152||156|
|Number of employees (average for year)||16,286||14,438||13,723||13,479||13,591||14,127||12,329||11,288||10,710|
|Figures for SAS Group. Notes/sources:|||||||||||||||
(In 2012 the company changed its financial year to 1 November–31 October, instead of the calendar year. The figures above are therefore for years ending 31 December until 2011, for the 10 months to 31 October 2012, and for years ending 31 October thereafter.)
- Adria Airways
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- All Nippon Airways
- Austrian Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Swiss International Air Lines
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
Scandinavian Airlines has interlining agreements with the following airlines:
This article needs to be updated.(April 2017)
These statistics about each of SAS hubs and busiest airports are current as of W17/18. (Ranked by weekly departures).
|Rank||Airport||Weekly Departures||Destinations Served|
|Airbus A319-100||4||—||—||0||0||150||150||OY-KBO painted in retro livery.|
|Airbus A320neo||21||50||5||0||0||180||180||Deliveries until 2023|
Replacing 737NG and selected A320ceo.
|Airbus A330-300||8||1||—||32||56||174||262||One new aircraft to join in Q2 2019|
|Airbus A340-300||8||—||—||42||28||164||234||OY-KBM painted in Star Alliance livery.|
LN-RKP to be retired in Q2 2019.
|Airbus A350-900||—||8||6||TBA||300||Deliveries from late 2019.|
|Boeing 737-600||8||—||—||0||0||120||120||To be replaced by Airbus A320neo.|
|Boeing 737-800||29||—||—||0||0||181||181||LN-RRL and LN-RRW painted in Star Alliance livery.|
To be replaced by Airbus A320neo.
|Airbus A320neo||7||2||—||0||0||180||180||Operated by Scandinavian Airlines Ireland.|
|ATR 72-600||10||—||—||0||0||70||70||Operated by Flybe and Nordica|
|Bombardier CRJ900||25||—||—||0||0||90||90||Operated by CityJet and Nordica|
|Bombardier CRJ1000||2||—||—||0||0||100||100||Operated by Air Nostrum|
Future fleet plans
On 20 June 2011, SAS announced an order for 30 new A320neo aircraft as part of its fleet harmonisation plan. SAS' stated goal is to have an all-Airbus fleet at their bases in Stockholm and Copenhagen by 2019, with a mixed A320neo and A320ceo fleet operation at both bases. The base in Oslo will then operate mostly Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with a few 737-700s also being retained. The older, smaller 737-600s will be disposed of. The first of the order of A320neos was delivered in October 2016. In April 2018, SAS announced an order of 50 more A320neos to replace all 737NGs and older A320ceos in service as part of their goal to have an all-Airbus fleet by 2023.
On 25 June 2013, SAS and Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating that SAS intends to buy twelve new-generation aircraft, including six options. The agreement consists of eight A350-900 with six options, and four A330-300E. The first new long haul aircraft to enter service will be the A330-300E, which were originally planned to replace the aging A340-300 in 2015 as leasing agreements on these aircraft expire. Instead SAS renewed the leasing agreements to be able to expand its long-haul fleet and used the new A330-300Es to add more long-haul destinations to its network. The A350-900 is planned to enter service Nov,2019. SAS has dubbed this "A total renewal of long haul fleet", indicating that all former A340 and A330 will in fact be replaced, although the total renewal could also refer to the new interior in the long haul fleet.
Removal of SAS Dash Q400 fleet
In September 2007, two separate incidents of similar landing gear failures occurred within four days of each other on SAS Dash 8-Q400 aircraft. A third incident occurred in October 2007. On 28 October 2007, in a move that was described as unique by the Swedish press, the board of directors announced that all 27 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft were to be removed from service due to three landing gear failures.
A press release from SAS said that the company had reached a settlement with Bombardier and Goodrich, whereby the airline would receive SEK one billion as compensation, while SAS would purchase 27 new aircraft, with an option of 24 more. These aircraft will consist of 13 of the CRJ900 Nextgen (10 to SAS and 3 to Estonian Air) and 14 of the updated Q400 Nextgen units (8 to airBaltic and 6 to Widerøe), with 7 additional options.
SAS received the first CRJ-900 on 3 December 2008, with others soon to follow. The CRJ900 fleet now consists of 12 aircraft.
In November 2007, it was revealed that Swedish Civil Aviation Authority began an investigation and accused Scandinavian Airlines System of cutting corners for maintenance. The airline reportedly made 2,300 flights in which safety equipment was not up to standard.
The current livery was introduced in 1998, and is designed by SthlmLab (Stockholm Design Lab). SAS aircraft look predominantly white, however, the fuselage is in a very light beige (Pantone Warm Gray 2/Pantone 9083C) with "Scandinavian" above the windows in silver lettering (Pantone 877) and "Airlines" below the windows in white. The typeface used is Rotis Semi Serif. The vertical stabiliser (and winglets) are painted blue (Pantone 2738C) with the classic white SAS logo on it. It is a variant of the traditional SAS logotype, slimmed slightly and stylised by the design company Stockholm Design Lab, as part of the SAS livery change. The engine casing is painted in scarlet (Pantone Warm Red/Pantone 179C) with the word Scandinavian in white, the thrust reversers in the colour of the fuselage. All other text is painted in Pantone Warm Gray 9. The design also features stylised versions of the Scandinavian flags. All aircraft are named, traditionally after Vikings.
Apart from the standard livery, SAS also has an Airbus A319 in retro livery and two Boeing 737 and one Airbus A340 in Star Alliance-livery.
On long-haul flights business class, called SAS Business, is still offered and features wide sleeper seats. On the Airbus A330s and upgraded A340s seating is 1-2-1 on seats that convert into 196–202 centimetres (77–80 in) flat beds, with power sockets and a 15 inches (380 mm) entertainment screen. On the single A340 that has not yet been upgraded, seating is 2-2-2 that converts into angled beds.
Plus is SAS premium economy class. On intercontinental flights, seating is 2-3-2 on wide bodies. The seats offered on SAS Plus are wider than those in the SAS Go section.
On European flights, SAS Plus tickets are refundable, and include a meal, a double checked-in baggage allowance, and access to lounges and fast track security at the airport. The SAS Plus passengers are seated at the front of the aircraft and passengers can choose their seat at booking for free, but the seats there are otherwise the same as the SAS Go seats. The two-class system was introduced in June 2013, when business class was eliminated from intra-European flights.
SAS Go, or economy offers 3-3 seating on intracontinental flights, and 2-4-2 on the A330s and A340s.
SAS Go Light
SAS Go Light is a variant of SAS Go where no checked luggage is included. Tickets are sold in the same booking class as SAS Go and are other than the luggage allowance differences identical. As of December 14 2017, SAS Go Light is available on both European and Long-haul flights. It is not available on flights within the Nordic countries. SAS Go Light is aimed at competing with low-cost carriers for those who travel with hand luggage only. The extra luggage allowance for EuroBonus Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Pandion members does not apply on SAS Go Light tickets.
SAS Scandinavian, Stockholm, and Business Lounges are at:
- Charles de Gaulle Airport
- Chicago O'Hare International Airport
- Copenhagen Airport (2)
- Göteborg Landvetter Airport
- Helsinki Airport
- Luleå Airport SAS Café Lounge
- Malmö Airport SAS Café Lounge
- Newark Liberty International Airport
- Oslo Gardermoen Airport (3)
- Stockholm Arlanda Airport (3)
- Tromsø Airport SAS Café Lounge
- Trondheim Airport SAS Café Lounge
- Ålesund Airport SAS Café Lounge
Fingerprint biometric identification
In 2006, SAS Sweden launched a new biometric system for use throughout Sweden. Each passenger's fingerprints are, for security purposes, matched to their respective checked baggage. The new technology will be phased in at all the airports served by SAS, although use of the system is voluntary for passengers. The system has been introduced in Norway.
Fly Home Club
Fly Home Club was SAS's membership club for Scandinavians living in Spain. It has closed ever since economic conditions have worsened in Spain and as Scandinavians living in Spain have decided to return home or change locations.
Between 1984 and 1994 SAS operated a Hovercraft service between Malmö and Copenhagen Airport. Travellers could check in for their flights in Malmö and the Hovercrafts were operated as connecting flights. In 1994 the hovercrafts were replaced by catamarans that operated until 2000 when the Öresund bridge was opened and offered a rail link between Malmö and Copenhagen airport.
In May 2018, SAS launched a new high-speed WiFi system supplied by Viasat. The service is being rolled out on SAS short and medium-haul fleet and is expected to take two years to complete. The new system is much faster than previously available and will enable passengers to stream movies onboard. Prior to this SAS only offered WiFi onboard 10 of their 737-800 aircraft and on their long haul aircraft. WiFi is free for Eurobonus Gold and Diamond members as well as for those travelling in SAS Plus or Business. Otherwise, Wifi can be purchased with EuroBonus points or for a small fee.
- Webbie Award: Online Campaign of the Year
- Grand Travel Award: Europe's Best Airline
Incidents and accidents
- SAS Group
- Norwegian Aviation College
- List of airports in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden
- List of the busiest airports in the Nordic countries
- Transport in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden
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Media related to SAS Scandinavian Airlines at Wikimedia Commons
- Company websites
- SAS website ( - )
- SAS Denmark website
- SAS Norway website
- SAS Sweden website
- SAS Group corporate website
- Other websites