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SAS Set to Operate Entire Network This Fall
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is slated to boost the number of flights it will operate and reinstate more destinations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia throughout autumn as the airline continues to see a rise in demand for travel and transport to, from and within Scandinavia.
Scandinavia’s “domestic” flights — those within Sweden, Norway and Denmark — will cover almost the airline’s entire pre-COVID-19 network when it resumes flights from Stavanger, Norway to Trondheim, Norway and from Stockholm to Ronneby and Sundsvall, both in Sweden. With the flight expansion, SAS will increase accessibility and maintain essential air service to small communities in Scandinavia.
In a bid to meet demand, SAS is also increasing flight frequencies and adding 18 routes to the airline’s key European destinations, along routes including those from Copenhagen to Paris, from Stockholm to Frankfurt and from Oslo to Brussels. Subject to government approval, SAS is also planning to resume its long-haul flights to Asia and operate flights from Copenhagen to Shanghai once per week.
If the Scandinavian carrier manages to implement its planned flights, it will be operating flights again in the autumn across its whole network to all three continents on which SAS normally operates.
SAS is also planning to expand North American operations, increasing the number of flights to New York from Copenhagen up to daily departures. Scandinavian will also resume flights from Copenhagen to Washington D.C. with two flights per week from mid-September and continue Chicago and San Francisco flights without any change.
“We are encouraged to see that demand is slowly returning as we continue to ramp-up our operations. So far, the demand for air travel has developed in line with our expectations, with domestic traffic leading the way,” said Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of Scandinavian Airlines. “Demand continues to return slowly and in line with the estimated ramp-up plan we presented in the second quarter. In the quarter, demand was centered around domestic travel and attractive European summer destinations.”
In July, SAS operated 8,700 flights, marking a 20% uptick compared to the first month of this quarter. During the fourth quarter, the carrier will continue to ramp up flight operations and expects to reach 30-40% of last year’s levels.
SAS also said it continues to see a slow but continual recovery in demand for air travel. However, Scandinavian has warned how the recovery will evolve remains uncertain as it is largely dependent on the easing of travel restrictions and passenger confidence and willingness to travel.
“It is difficult to predict how demand will evolve during the coming fall and winter due to changed customer behavior with bookings being made closer to the date of travel. Our current expectation is that the ramp-up phase for the airline industry may last until 2022 before demand can reach more normalized levels, with a return to pre COVID-19 levels a few years thereafter,” Gustafson said.
SAS operates flights to, from and within Scandinavia. The airline, which has a fleet of 156 aircraft, connects three main hubs – Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm – with over 125 destinations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
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