SAS Has A Comeback Plan – Here’s What You Need To Know

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has today revealed its plan to get back into operation. Having grounded most of its fleet in mid-March, the airline plans to gradually add services, starting on June 1st. While initial new routes will focus on intra-Scandinavian operations, international will soon follow, with routes to the US beginning on June 10th.

Scandinavian Airlines SAS
SAS has a plan to restart operations. Photo: Getty Images

SAS will double capacity in June

As more countries begin to ease travel restrictions, Scandinavian airline SAS has become the latest to announce its gradual resumption of services. From June onwards, the airline will begin flying once again to many of its previous destinations, with a focus on domestic flights in Scandinavia first, but expanding to international flying shortly after.

In Sweden, the airline is adding four more destinations from Arlanda. These are Malmö, Ängelholm, Kalmar, and Skellefteå. The airline is already operating all its domestic routes in Norway but will expand this network to include flights between Bergen and Stavanger to Copenhagen, and from Stavanger to Aberdeen.

Flying between Sweden and Finland is set to get easier too, with the addition of services between Stockholm and Helsinki as well as Stockholm to Turku. In a statement sent to Simple Flying, the airline said that this would see capacity doubled in the coming month. It said,

“SAS’ decision to resume flights and scale up existing services in all three countries means that SAS is set to double its capacity in June, from the equivalent of 15 to 30 aircraft in service.”

30 aircraft is still a far cry from the 152 that SAS previously operated. However, it’s green shoots of growth and service resumption in what is still a very uncertain climate and will come as a relief to both the airline and those reliant on its services.

SAS has had most of its fleet grounded since mid-March. Photo: Getty Images

International restart

With intra-Scandinavian flights starting from June 1st, international flying won’t begin until the 8th. The first destinations to be added are Amsterdam and Aberdeen, flying from Copenhagen and Stavanger, respectively.

These will be followed on June 10th with the airline’s first North American services. Passengers from Copenhagen will be able to connect to both New York and Chicago from this date. However, for the time being, flights will be relatively limited, currently showing on the SAS website as only operating on Saturdays and on Wednesday, June 24th.

The airline stressed that these routes are under constant review, saying,

“In addition to the destinations and routes which are now being added to the traffic program, SAS plans to offer more flights and destinations as the recommendations issued by different countries are relaxed and demand for travel in Scandinavia and globally increases.”

SAS airbus getty images
SAS will fly to the US from June 10th. Photo: Getty Images

Although the resumption of international flying is a positive, passenger loads are likely to remain very low for the time being. Norway is currently not permitting any visitors from outside of Scandinavia, Finland, and Iceland until July 20th. Denmark is hoping to lift its restrictions soon but hasn’t put a date on this. Sweden is set to open borders on June 15th.

While the US remains closed to most travelers from Europe, Newsweek reported today that President Donald Trump has suggested this could soon be lifted. While he didn’t put a date on the easing of restrictions, he did say,

“We’ll be doing certain announcements on other countries, including Europe, as we move along. And where they’re making progress, we’ll start to open it up, but only when they’re making progress. They’re making some good progress.”

An opening of the US border will be essential for SAS to achieve a decent load factor on its US flights from Copenhagen, something that is crucial for the airline and for its worried employees.