In a press rerelease issued on August 27, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) says that it intends to fly from Copenhagen to Shanghai once a week starting in September. Copenhagen to Shanghai is just one of many routes the Nordic airline hopes to rekindle, many other flights to European business centers and the USA also on the list.
In all, 18 routes to vital European capitals will resume in the fall. Flights from Copenhagen to Paris, from Stockholm to Frankfurt, and from Oslo to Brussels, are all set to restart. Starting next month, SAS will increase its number of flights to North America with daily departures to New York from Copenhagen. The Star Alliance member will offer two flights per week from the Danish capital to Washington D.C. and maintain an unchanged schedule to Chicago and San Francisco starting from mid-September.
SAS is increasing domestic flights
Along with the increase in international flights, the Solna, Sweden-headquartered airline will ramp up domestic services in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. These flights will include a resumption of service from Stavanger to Trondheim and Stockholm to Ronneby and Sundsvall.
With plenty of uncertainty still surrounding air travel and restrictions brought about by COVID-19, SAS wants to remind its customers that they can change a planned journey/ticket for a SAS Travel Voucher, up to 16 days before departure. This courtesy is also available for international travel until January 15, 2021, subject to government approval.
Passenger demand is increasing
In another recent press release, SAS said that they were encouraged to see that passenger demand is slowly increasing and are ramping up operations to match it. Domestic air travel leads the way and shows that aviation is a vital part of Scandinavia’s infrastructure and is essential for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden’s connectivity to the world.
SAS has a new business plan
Like all other airlines, the COVID-19 global pandemic was a wake-up call that has provided airlines like SAS the opportunity to revise and adjust business plans. The first thing airlines did was look at their staffing levels and determine how many people they needed to have on their books. In the case of SAS, it was to get rid of 4,000 employees with approximately another 1,000 still waiting to hear the dreaded news. Now the airline has come up with a plan that is based on four building blocks.
- To be the go-to airline for Scandinavia’s frequent flyers;
- To become a hyper-modern all-airbus airline;
- To establish a genuinely competitive operating model;
- Achieve a global leadership role in sustainable aviation.
Regarding its ambition of becoming an all-Airbus airline, SAS has been in constant talks with the European planemaker. This has enabled SAS to defer the delivery of eight A320neos and two A350-900s. By doing this, they have reduced the airline’s capital expenditures for 2021–2024 and will now take delivery after the expected normalization of air travel.
Despite the deferrals, SAS says that it is committed to becoming a single fleet carrier by 2023. SAS will also save money on training and maintenance by retiring older aircraft and introducing more fuel-efficient Airbus planes.
While talking about the future, SAS realizes that some passengers are still waiting for refunds from flights that were canceled and are doing everything they can to rectify the situation brought on by unprecedented circumstances. It sounds as though SAS have a reasonable game plan with leaner staffing levels and newer aircraft.
Will we see other airlines going the same route? Please tell us what you think in the comments.