SAS Flies Its Longest Flight Ever Using An Airbus A350

Earlier this week, SAS completed its longest-ever non-stop route to collect stranded Scandinavians in Peru. The aircraft completed the trip of more than 11,000km in just over 15 hours with an Airbus A350-900 on 2nd April. SAS flew passengers back to Copenhagen on the same day.

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SAS flew an A350 to Peru this week to collect stranded tourists. Photo: SAS

SAS collects stranded passengers

In the middle of last month, many tourists around the world found themselves stranded in Peru. The South American country suddenly shut its borders on 16th March after declaring a state of emergency the day before.

Amongst those stranded were tourists from various Scandinavian countries. Since their travel plans were canceled, they have been looking for a way to get home and this week SAS was able to provide that lifeline. On Thursday 2nd April, SAS carried out a special repatriation mission for those people.

The airline used an A350-900 with the registration SE-RSB and name Hagbard Viking. A relatively new plane, having only joined the fleet in February 2020, this trip was certainly an excellent way for the aircraft to make its mark.

SAS Flies Its Longest Flight Ever Using An Airbus A350
The journey from Copenhagen to Lima. Photo: FlightAware

SAS flight SK7030 left Copenhagen Airport at 00:53 UTC and made its way across the UK and Ireland to fly over the North Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft made its way along the top of South America, crossing over Panamanian airspace and eventually landing in Lima. According to data from FlightRadar24, the journey took a total of 15 hours and 20 minutes.

Who was on the flight?

The aircraft touched down at 14:47 UTC and then proceeded to board passengers to nearly full capacity. Flight number SK7031 left Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport on 2nd April at 12:28 local time (17:20 UTC) retracing the same route to Denmark in which it had flown in.

11,086km later, the aircraft arrived at Copenhagen Airport at 05:58 UTC. 290 Scandinavian nationals were aboard the flight and were repatriated to Denmark nearly three weeks after they had been stranded.

The repatriation appears to have been a success and is good news for passengers amid the disruption that COVID-19 is causing to the aviation industry.

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An A320neo will now complete the remainder of SAS’ flights. Photo: Bene Riobo via Wikimedia Commons

This news also comes at the same time that SAS announces it will be further cutting down its services to offer what it calls “community-critical infrastructure”. In its latest press release, it seems that the air carrier will be waving goodbye to any further A350 operations. It will instead use a smaller aircraft for regional travel.

On this topic, the airline says:

“SAS will carry out domestic flights with an aircraft, an A320neo that flies Arlanda to Umeå, Kiruna, Luleå and Visby. All other domestic traffic ceases.”

We asked SAS whether it had any further repatriation flights scheduled but it was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

The longest flight in SAS history

Thursday’s A350 flight was not only a success in terms of its human impact but it also set a first for SAS. SAS has actually flown a longer route than this in the past. Back in 2002, it operated an evacuation flight between Denpasar in Bali and Oslo in Norway using Boeing 767-300ER. At 11,638km, the aircraft managed nearly 600 extra km in range. However, the trip could not be completed in one stint. In fact, there was a technical stop for this journey in India.

Therefore, this latest trip between Copenhagen and Lima is recorded as the longest non-stop service in SAS’ 74-year history.

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