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SAS Sets Next Steps for SkyTeam Cutover

The alliance transition date has recently been announced.

An SAS A320 in Oslo. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Following the initial report about Scandinavian SAS being nearly taken over by Air France-KLM, the subsequent implication was that the former would change alliances from Star Alliance to Sky Team.

The Transition

Early this week, SAS Scandinavian Airlines released an announcement about the final date for the partnership switch. The switch will take place with the last day of SAS in Star Alliance being on Aug. 31, 2024 and the first day in the ranks of SkyTeam as Sept. 1, 2024. Not even a year after the deal was reached and announced on Oct. 3, 2023.

The transition is a synergies-driven decision to align the SAS operations with Air France-KLM, which will hold a 20% stake in the Scandinavian airline. The French-Dutch airline group will benefit from SAS providing its customers with more options, as well as feeding hubs in Amsterdam Schiphol and Charles de-Gaulle airports. It surely was part of the business case all along.

Frequent Travelers Impacted

An important point to note is that the same date will apply for the EuroBonus benefits within the Star Alliance. It will remain SAS’ loyalty program even after the transition and the carrier is promising to guide its customers along.

This switch may negatively impact many European frequent travelers as EuroBonus is one of the most generous mileage programs for those flying extensively with Star Alliance members. Many have used it to obtain the EuroBonus Gold which offers a significant upside over the Frequent Traveler, possible to obtain with Lufthansa Group.

Those located in Central Europe will need to make a decision, whether they want to still pursue the lifetime EuroBonus Gold, which was given out after 10 years of continuous participation, or do they switch to another Star Alliance membership program. It will be interesting to see whether those membership conditions will change after the alliance transition of SAS.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ network (Source: flightconnections.com)

SkyTeam Benefiting

SAS Scandinavian Airlines is one of the founding members of Star Alliance. It is truly remarkable seeing it join SkyTeam, with this special kind of invitation from its founding member, Air France.

Up until recently, SkyTeam was at a disadvantage in the transatlantic battle with Air France-KLM being the main provider of European connectivity. Now with the new joiner SAS, it will increase the transatlantic capacity and European connectivity at the same time. It will also tackle the Northern European market, which has a very limited penetration outside of the biggest airports.

The SAS addition will especially come as crucial if ITA Airways follows along SAS’ path and changes its alliance in an exactly opposite direction if or when the takeover by Lufthansa Group takes place.

Filip Kopeć

Author

  • Filip Kopeć

    A passionate aviation enthusiast that started off his career as an aerospace engineer, but found his true calling on the commercial side of the airline business. Now as a finance guy among avgeeks and an avgeek among finance guys, he has experience working in the Revenue Divisions of three airlines. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, but admittedly sometimes is more about the journey than the destination.

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