Scandinavian Airlines

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Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
Founded1 August 1946
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programEuroBonus
Airport loungeScandinavian Lounge & Business Lounge
AllianceStar Alliance
Fleet size141 (+55 orders and 11 options)
Destinations~ 90
Company sloganService and simplicity.
Parent companySAS Group
HeadquartersStockholm-Arlanda Airport
Sigtuna, Sweden
Key people
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Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
Founded1 August 1946
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programEuroBonus
Airport loungeScandinavian Lounge & Business Lounge
AllianceStar Alliance
Fleet size141 (+55 orders and 11 options)
Destinations~ 90
Company sloganService and simplicity.
Parent companySAS Group
HeadquartersStockholm-Arlanda Airport
Sigtuna, Sweden
Key people

Scandinavian Airlines or SAS, previously Scandinavian Airlines System, is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden,[1] and the largest airline in Scandinavia.

Part of the SAS Group and headquartered at Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) in Sigtuna, Sweden, the airline operates 182 aircraft to 90 destinations in more than [ ] countries. The airline's main hub is Kastrup or Copenhagen Airport, which is the main European and intercontinental hub. Somewhat smaller hubs also exist at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen and Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.

In 2011, SAS carried 22.9 million passengers, achieving revenues of SEK 38 billion. This makes it the eight-largest airline in Europe. SAS' fleet consists of Airbus A319, A320 (To be delivered soon),A321, A330 and A340, Boeing 737 Classic and Next Generation, Bombardier CRJ900 and McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (To be phased out). It is a founding member of the Star Alliance. The company has its head office in Arlanda, near Stockholm, Sweden.

The airline was founded in 1946 as a consortium to pool Det Danske Luftfartselskab's, Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik's and Det Norske Luftfartselskap's transatlantic services. European and domestic cooperation started two years later and, in 1951, the airlines merged to create SAS.



An SAS DC-3 in flight
SAS had nine Convair 440s flying in 1972 .
SAS Boeing 747, used on busy longhaul routes during the '70s and '80s

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.[2] 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.[citation needed]

SAS used DC-8:s on intercontinental routes during the 1960s and '70s. Here a -63 approaching Arlanda Airport
SAS operated flights to Greenland till March 2003, the route reopened the spring 2007 till January 2009. The Boeing 767-383ER at Kangerlussuaq Airport in 2001
The company logo in the 1980s was made up of stripes in the colours of the flags of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden
The DC-10 was used on long-haul routes during the 1970s and '80s.

Trans polar route

In 1954, SAS became the first airline in the world to operate a trans-polar route. It was from Copenhagen to Los Angeles, with intermediate stops in Søndre Strømfjord, Greenland and Winnipeg, Canada, and this polar service became popular with Hollywood celebrities and production people travelling to Europe. The route was a publicity coup for the airline, which became well known as a result. Thanks to a price structure, which allowed free transit to other European destinations, this trans-polar route had gained popularity with US tourists throughout the late 1950s. SAS later operated trans-polar routes to Asia's Far East (Japan) via Greenland and Alaska, since the Soviet Union did not grant SAS the right to fly across Siberia and China was closed to overflights at that time.[citation needed]

North Pole routes

In 1957, SAS was the first airline to offer "round the world service over the North Pole" via the North Pole shortcut Copenhagen-Anchorage-Tokyo.

Jet Era

SAS entered the jet age in 1959 when its first jet aircraft, the Caravelle, entered service. In 1971, SAS put its first Boeing 747 jumbo jet into service.[citation needed]

Acquiring 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 along with Lufthansa, which owns 30% (although as of January 2009 LH will own 80% of the carrier). 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[3] and an agreement to divest more than 80 percent of the holdings in Spanair was signed with a Catalonian group of investors led by Consorci de Turisme de Barcelona and Catalana d'Inciatives in January 2009.[4]

Star Alliance founding member

SAS was one of the largest DC-9 operators in the world.

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 attempted to merge with KLM, Austrian, and the now defunct carrier, Swissair, in a project called Alcazar.[5] 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.

Contemporary History (2004-present)

In 2004, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) was divided into four companies; SAS Scandinavian Airlines Sverige AB, SAS Scandinavian Airlines Danmark AS, SAS Braathens AS and SAS Scandinavian International AS. SAS Braathens was re-branded SAS Scandinavian Airlines Norge AS in 2007.[6] In October 2009 the four companies were once again united into one company, SAS Scandinavian System AB.

With the upcoming of low-cost airlines and decreasing fares in Scandinavia the business turned into the red. To be profitable again, the airline had to save costs. In a first step the airline sold its stakes in other companies like bmi and Spanair and began to restructure it´s operations. This could save costs about 23 percent between 2008 and 2011. The next big cost-cutting measure followed by the end of 2011. It should generate cost savings about three to four percent until 2015. In June 2012 the airline announced, that they will extend this measure.[7]

Corporate affairs

Corporate offices

Scandinavian Airlines' head office is at Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) in Sigtuna Municipality, Sweden.[8] The SAS Cargo Group A/S head office is in Kastrup, Tårnby Municipality, Denmark.[9]

A previous SAS head office was located on the grounds of Bromma Airport in Stockholm Municipality.[10] At a later point, the SAS head office was located in Frösundavik, Solna Municipality, Sweden, near Stockholm.[11][12] That head office facility was built from 1985 through 1987 by Norwegian Niels Torp Architects. SAS intended to build its head office in the lake Brunnsviken area, near an exit to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The plans caused controversy since the municipal and regional planners wanted the area to be used for recreation purposes. The Swedish government was about to sell land in the Brunnsviken area, so SAS took a plot of land, while the beaches and scenic elements of the area were retained. SAS held a competition amongst nine architects to determine who would get to design the head office. Niels Torp won the competition and a 55,000-square-metre (590,000 sq ft) complex was built.[13] About 2,000 workers moved into the building. In 2010 the owner of the previous head office sold it to a different entity. SAS's cost reduction programme stated that the number of employees that would work at the SAS head office would decrease by one half, with 350 job losses. The move from Solna to Arlanda was scheduled to occur in the autumn of 2010.[14]


Besides the agreements SAS has with its Star Alliance partners, SAS also has strategic agreements with Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian and United. 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.

SAS has begun code-sharing with Shanghai Airlines, complementing its code-share arrangement with Air China.


Scandinavian Airlines International – SAS
Responsible for the SAS International Group's intercontinental traffic with long haul routes to North America and Asia out of the main hub in Copenhagen, as well as Stockholm and Oslo. Scandinavian Airlines International also operates all sales units outside Scandinavia. Scandinavian Airlines International has 900 employees.
Scandinavian Airlines in Denmark
SAS Norway office
Responsible for the traffic from Copenhagen to other European countries, the route from Copenhagen to Oslo, as well as for Danish domestic routes. Scandinavian Airlines DK is responsible for the sales units within Denmark. The company has 2800 employees.
Scandinavian Airlines in Sweden
Responsible for the traffic from Stockholm to other European countries, as well as for Swedish domestic routes. Scandinavian Airlines Sweden is also responsible for the sales units within Sweden. The company has 2500 employees.
Scandinavian Airlines in Norway
Scandinavian Airlines Norge is the result of the merger of SAS Norway and Braathens. The airline was first called SAS Braathens, but changed its name to Scandinavian Airlines Norge in 2007. SAS Norge is responsible for the traffic within Norway, as well as for the routes from Norway to other European countries. SAS Norge is also responsible for the sales units within Norway. The company has 3500 employees.
SAS Business Opportunities

Key business trends

The key trends for Scandinavian Airlines (which includes SAS Cargo, SAS Ground Handling and SAS Tech), but not including the SAS Group's 'individually-branded airlines', for example Widerøe, are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):

Turnover (SEKm)47,53639,69636,52436,735
Profits (EBT) (SEKm)-188-1,522-33543
Number of employees (average for year)16,28614,43813,72313,479
Number of passengers (m)25.425.421.421.522.9
Passenger load factor (%)74.171.971.675.274.6
Number of aircraft (at year end)181172159147

The company has agreed that its financial year will in future comprise the period 1 November – 31 October, instead of the calendar year; the current financial year will cover the period 1 January – 31 October 2012.[18]


SAS destinations

Codeshare agreements

Scandinavian Airlines is one of the founding members of Star Alliance

Scandinavian Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines, * indicate as Star Alliance:


Current fleet

A Scandinavian Airlines A340-313X at Dubai International Airport in 2007.
Airbus A330-300 rolling during takeoff

The Scandinavian Airlines fleet includes the following aircraft (active aircraft as of July 25, 2012):[22][23]

Scandinavian Airlines Fleet
Airbus A319-100400141141OY-KBO painted in retro livery
Airbus A320-20001000TBATBALeased until delivery of Airbus A320NEOs
Airbus A320neo0301100TBATBADelivery from 2016
Airbus A321-200800198198
Airbus A330-30043435195264SE-REF painted in Star Alliance livery
Airbus A340-3006

OY-KBM painted in Star Alliance livery
Boeing 737-400300150150To be phased out. Replacement: Boeing 737NG.
Boeing 737-500700120120To be phased out. Replacement: Boeing 737NG.
LN-BUD in hybrid livery
Boeing 737-6002800120120
Boeing 737-70023700141141
Boeing 737-80021800179
LN-RRL painted in Star Alliance livery
LN-RPO and LN-RPR in hybrid livery
Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen12008888
McDonnell Douglas MD-822300150150To be phased out
Three painted in Star Alliance livery
13 to be sold to Allegiant Air[24]

Future fleet plans

SAS has earlier stated that they plan to buy up to 55 new narrow-body aircraft to replace its McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and Boeing 737 Classics. But as a revised plan they will replace 9 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and 11 Boeing 737 Classics with 17 leased Boeing 737 Next Generations. 17 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s will later be replaced by Airbus A320s.[25]

On June 20, 2011, SAS announced an order for 30 new A320 next generation aircraft as part of its fleet harmonisation plan. SAS has earlier announced that the fleet will be harmonized. Its short range aircraft will consist of two types from 2015: Airbus A320 family at the base in Copenhagen and Boeing 737NG at the bases in Stockholm and Oslo.

As part of the transition, all the MD80s in Copenhagen will be replaced by leased Airbus A320 and be completed by the end of 2014 which in turn will be replaced as from 2016 by the now 30 ordered Airbus A320neo. Airbus A320 is very attractive in the market and the SAS Group expects to finance the aircraft through a combination of leasing and loans.

All the MD80s at the base in Stockholm will be replaced by leased Boeing 737NGs, which will be completed during 2013. Finally all the Boeing 737 Classics at the base in Oslo will be replaced by Boeing 737NGs and this will be completed by the end of 2014.

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.[26]

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.[27][28]

SAS received the first CRJ-900 on December 3, 2008, with others soon to follow. The CRJ900 fleet now consists of 12 aircraft.

SAS sold its original Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 fleet to Philippine Airlines for operation with subsidiary PAL Express,and also to Malev Hungarian Airlines.

McDonnell Douglas MD-82 taking off (2007)
A Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen at Copenhagen (2011)

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.[29]


SAS planes look predominantly white, however, they are a very light beige with "Scandinavian" above the windows and "Airlines" below the windows in white lettering except for the belly which is actually white. The vertical stabilizers are blue with the traditional "SAS" logo on it. Also, the engine casing is painted in scarlet with the word Scandinavian in white, the thrust reversers are white.



The following locations are SAS Scandinavian, Stockholm, and Business locations:

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.[citation needed]


SAS's frequent-flyer program is called EuroBonus. Members also earn points on other Star Alliance flights.

Fly Home Club

Fly Home Club is SAS's membership club for Scandinavians living in Spain.

Incidents and accidents

See also


  1. ^ "Profile for SAS". Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Historie". SAS. 
  3. ^ SAS plans to sell Spanair and its stake in the British carrier bmi – International Herald Tribune
  4. ^ "SAS - press release (in Swedish)". Cision Wire. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  5. ^ Talks Collapse On European Airline Merger – International Herald Tribune
  6. ^ "Press Release: SAS Braathens to be renamed SAS Norge". Waymaker (via SAS Group Press Release Archive). Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  7. ^ volaspheric: SAS cuts costs
  8. ^ "SAS Head Office in Sweden." Scandinavian Airlines. Retrieved on 27 January 2012. "SAS Head Office Stockholm-Arlanda Kabinvägen 5 SE-195 87 Stockholm"
  9. ^ "Headquarters." SAS Cargo. Retrieved on 27 January 2012. "Visiting address Kystvejen 40 DK-2770 Kastrup Denmark"
  10. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 29 March 1986. "Scandinavian Airlines System" 122.
  11. ^ "SAS head office in Sweden." Scandinavian Airlines. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  12. ^ "Cykelkarta 2007." Solna Municipality. Retrieved on 12 February 2010.
  13. ^ "SAS koncernbyggnad." Solna Municipality. Retrieved on 12 February 2010.
  14. ^ "SAS to relocate Swedish head office, to axe 350 jobs." Airline Industry Information. M2 Communications. 15 February 2010. Retrieved on 28 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Annual Report & Sustainability Report 2008". SAS Group. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "Annual Report & Sustainability Report 2010". SAS Group. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Annual Report & Sustainability Report 2011". SAS Group. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  18. ^ "Resolutions approved by the 2012 Annual General Shareholders' Meeting of SAS AB". SAS Group. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  19. ^ SK-NH code share
  20. ^ SAS and Icelandair Begin Codeshare
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ Year-End Report 2010
  23. ^ SAS Official fleet page
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ Kinnander, Ola (26 November 2010). "Bombardier's C-Series Is Contender for 55-Plane SAS Order, Airline Says". Bloomberg. 
  26. ^ SAS removes Dash 8 Q400 from service permanently
  27. ^ "News." Airliner World : 7.
  28. ^ SAS får en milliard i krasj-erstatning ("SAS gets a billion in crash compensation") 10 March 2008 (Norwegian)
  29. ^ "Plane crash disaster narrowly avoided." The Copenhagen Post, September 10, 2007. Retrieved: December 6, 2009.
  30. ^ "SAS removes Dash 8 Q400 from service permanently". SAS Group. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  31. ^ "Turbulence led to spinal injury for plane stewardess". BBC News. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 

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