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Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
Founded 1946
Focus cities
Frequent flyer program EuroBonus
Member lounge Scandinavian Lounge & Business Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Fleet size 143
Destinations ca 90
Company slogan Service and simplicity.
Parent company SAS Group
Headquarters Solna, Sweden
Key people Fritz H. Schur (Chair)
Mats Jansson (CEO)

Scandinavian Airlines or SAS, previously Scandinavian Airlines System, is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and the largest airline in Scandinavia. Part of the SAS Group, the airline operates 143 aircraft to 90 destinations in 28 countries. The airline's main hubs are Copenhagen Airport, which is the main European and intercontinental hub, Stockholm-Arlanda Airport and Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. In 2006, SAS carried 25.4 million passengers, making a revenue of SEK 42 billion. This makes it the ninth-largest airline in Europe. SAS' fleet consists of Airbus A319, A321, A330 and A340, Boeing 737 Classic and Next Generation, Bombardier CRJ900, Fokker 50 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and MD-87. It is a founding member of the Star Alliance. The company has its head office in Solna, 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
Passengers disembarking a SAS DC-6
A 737 parked at gate at Ålesund Airport, Vigra

The airline was founded on 1 August 1946, when Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik AB, Det Danske Luftfartselskab A/S and Det Norske Luftfartselskap AS, an airline owned by the swedish Wallenberg family and the flag carriers of Denmark and Norway, formed a partnership to handle the intercontinental air traffic of these three Scandinavian countries.[1] 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]

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]

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. 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]

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[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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. The SAS Group’s average number of employees was 15379 in the first quarter of 2009.[5]

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.[citation needed]


SAS has won awards including Airline of the Year and Best International Bonus Promotion.


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. Scandinavian Airlines International also operates all sales units outside Scandinavia. Scandinavian Airlines International has 900 employees.
Scandinavian Airlines Danmark
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 Sverige
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 Norge
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



Codeshare agreements

Scandinavian Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:


Current fleet

The Scandinavian Airlines fleet includes the following aircraft (active aircraft as of December 2009):[6][7]

Scandinavian Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers
Airbus A319-100 4 141 (0/0/141)
Airbus A321-200 8 198 (0/0/198)
Airbus A330-300 4 264 (34/35/195)
Airbus A340-300 7 245 (46/28/171)
Boeing 737-400 4 150 (0/0/150) To be phased out
Boeing 737-500 10 120 (0/0/120) To be phased out
Boeing 737-600 28 123 (0/0/123)
Boeing 737-700 17 141 (0/0/141)
Boeing 737-800 18 186 (0/0/186)
Bombardier CRJ900 12 88 (0/0/88)
Fokker 50 5 50 (0/0/50) To be phased out
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 20 150 (0/0/150)
McDonnell Douglas MD-87 6 125 (0/0/125) To be phased out
Total: 143

Dash 8 Q400 removal

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.[8]

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. [9][10]

SAS received the first CRJ-900 on December 3 2008, with others soon to follow. They currently have eleven such aircraft, having received the eleventh unit on the 18th of October 2009.[11]

Maintance methods were later criticised, accusing SAS group of cutting corners."Plane crash disaster narrowly avoided." The Copenhagen Post, September 10, 2007. Retrieved: December 6, 2009.

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.



One class
Breakfast is served free. After 9 a.m., sandwiches and drinks are available for purchase from the "CloudShop" buy on board programme.[12][13][14]


Passengers booked with a Business class ticket travel in Economy Extra on Intra-Scandinavian flights.
Economy Class
Breakfast, sandwiches and drinks are available for purchase from the "CloudShop".[12][13][14]
Economy Extra
Fast-track at the Security at some European airports, a three-course cold meal or cold breakfast.


Economy Class
Breakfast, sandwiches and drinks are available for purchase from the "CloudShop".[12][13][14]
Economy Extra
Fast-track at security at some European airports, a three-course cold meal or cold breakfast. The Economy Extra class is priced almost like Business class, and it is a play with words, since the state authorities and many companies in at least Sweden have rules saying that air travel shall be done in economy class if possible.
Fast-track at security at some European airports and access to lounges. Free centre seat. Free magazines and destination newspapers are distributed in the cabin. Cocktails and cold snacks are served before meal, a three-course hot meal or hot breakfast, on flights shorter than 1 hour and 40 minutes a cold meal is served. After the meal dessert, coffee/tea and avec are served separate. Before landing a give-away is handed out (e.g. Valrhona chocolate).


Economy Class
Cocktails before dinner, and a three-course dinner is served (including two free alcoholic beverages). The starter is typically a salad, followed by a hot meal, fresh bread and dessert. Coffee or tea is also served. Between meals, juice, water, snacks and sandwiches are available, depending on the length of the flight. Avec and other alcoholic beverages are available for purchase. On night flights, breakfast is served before landing. On day flights a cold meal is served.
Economy Extra
Fast-track at security at some European airports, juice upon boarding, cocktails and cold snacks are served before dinner. A three-course dinner is then served. The starter is normally a salad, followed by a choice between two hot main dishes, accompanied by fresh bread and dessert. Coffee or tea with brandy, cognac or liqueur is also served. Between meals juice, water, snacks and sandwiches are available, depending on the length of the flight. A hot breakfast or lunch is served on Asian flights, while on US flights a snack or breakfast is served.
Fast-track at security at some European airports and access to lounges, upon boarding, cocktails are served, and cocktails and cold snacks are available before dinner. A full three-course dinner follows. The starter is a mixed salad, followed by a first course and a choice of four hot meals for the main course. There is always one vegetarian alternative. Cheeses and desserts are served together with coffee or tea with brandy (cognac/liqueur). Alternatively, there is the option of a light cold meal on all night flights, served before the main dinner service. In between meals there is a buffet in the galley serving a range of coffee and sandwiches. On night flights breakfast will be served before landing, with an option of choosing an express breakfast or a Grab and Go Breakfast bag after landing. On day flights a second meal will be served.

Euro Bonus

Frequent flyer programs

SAS own program EuroBonus, also earns points on other Star Alliance Frequent flyer programs.

Membership clubs

Fly Home Club, for Scandinavians living abroad.

SAS lounges


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

EuroBonus Gold card members are allowed to use partner clubs, as well as Star Alliance Gold lounges, which offer more clubs in more locations. For partner club information, visit [2].


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.

Head office

Scandinavian Airlines head office and lake Brunnsviken

The Scandinavian Airlines head office is in Frösundavik, Solna Municipality, Sweden, near Stockholm.[15][16]

The head office 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 pruposes. 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 metres (590,000 sq ft) complex was built.[17]

The previous SAS head office was located on the grounds of Bromma Airport in Stockholm Municipality.[18]

Incidents and accidents

  • On 4 July 1948, a DC-6B, SE-BDA collided with a British military plane at Northwood, north of London, England. All 32 on board were killed. See Northwood Mid-Air Collision
  • On 19 January, 1960, a Caravelle III, OY-KRB crashed near Ankara, Turkey. All 42 on board were killed.
  • On 13 January 1969, SAS flight 933 DC-8-62, LN-MOO, hit the water while approaching Los Angeles. 15 of the 45 on board were killed.
  • On 19 April 1970 a DC-8-62, SE-DBE, experienced an uncontained engine fire during takeoff from Rome. Aircraft burned out, but all on board managed to evacuate safely.
  • On 30 January 1973, a DC-9-21, LN-RLM SAS flight 370, Oslo-Alta via Tromsø, was cleared for takeoff from runway 24. The takeoff run was normal and the DC-9 rotated at VR (125 knots). At that moment the stall warning system activated. Although the speed had increased to 140 knots (259 km/h), the pilot aborted the takeoff. The remaining 1100 m was not enough to bring the aircraft to a halt, the reversers did not deploy completely and the aircraft overran the runway and onto the ice covered Oslofjord. All passengers and crew evacuated before the plane broke through the ice and sank 20 minutes later. The decision to abort the take-off in spite of the high speed was because the flight crew had received outdated (by several hours) runway data, giving much better braking coefficients than the actual ones.
  • On 28 February 1984, SAS Flight 901, DC-10, LN-RKB departed Oslo (GEN) for a flight to New York City JFK. The aircraft touched down 1440 m past the runway 4R threshold. The crew steered the plane to the right side off the runway to avoid approach lights. The DC-10 ended up in shallow water. All on board the plane were uninjured.
  • On 27 December 1991, SAS flight 751, a MD-81, OY-KHO "Dana Viking" crash landed at Gottröra (Sweden). During the initial climb, both engines ingested ice particles having broken loose from the wings, which had not been properly de-iced before departure. The ice damaged the compressor blades causing compressor stall. The stall caused repeated engine surges that destroyed both engines, leaving the aircraft with no propulsion. The aircraft landed in a field and broke in three parts. No fire broke out and all aboard the plane survived. Captain Stefan G. Rasmussen was later decorated by the Danish Queen for his performance. This incident was mentioned on The History Channel's True Action Adventures episode "Against All Odds" which first aired in the United States on 2 April 1997.
  • The Linate Airport disaster, involving the highest number of SAS passenger fatalities, occurred on 8 October 2001 in Milan, Italy, when an MD-87, SAS flight SK686, SE-DMA collided with a small Cessna jet during take-off. All 104 passengers and 6 crew aboard SK686 were killed, along with four people on the Cessna and another four people on the ground. Italian authorities established that the cause of the accident was a misunderstanding between air traffic controllers and the Cessna jet, and that the SAS crew had no role in causing the accident. Another factor was the inoperative ground movement radar at the time of the accident.
  • In the autumn of 2007, three separate incidents occurred, involving landing gear problems with the de Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 (Q400) airplane. These incidents (SAS flight SK1209, SAS flight SK2748 and SAS flight SK2867), while not resulting in hull loss or fatalities, were widely publicized in the media and eventually led to SAS permanently retiring its Dash 8 Q400 fleet [19].

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ SAS plans to sell Spanair and its stake in the British carrier bmi – International Herald Tribune
  3. ^ "SAS - press release (in Swedish)". Cision Wire. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  4. ^ Talks Collapse On European Airline Merger – International Herald Tribune
  5. ^ "SAS - Q1 report 2009". Cision Wire. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  6. ^ Scandinavia Airlines fleet list at Retrieved 2009-12-27.
  7. ^
  8. ^ SAS removes Dash 8 Q400 from service permanently
  9. ^ "News." Airliner World : 7.
  10. ^ SAS får en milliard i krasj-erstatning ("SAS gets a billion in crash compensation") 10 March 2008 (Norwegian)
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c "Menu & More Denmark Sep, Oct 2008." Scandinavian Airlines. Accessed October 11, 2008.
  13. ^ a b c "Cloudshop." Scandinavian Airlines. Accessed October 11, 2008.
  14. ^ a b c "Menu & More Sverige Oktober 2008." Scandinavian Airlines. Accessed October 11, 2008.
  15. ^ "SAS head office in Sweden." Scandinavian Airlines. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  16. ^ "Cykelkarta 2007." Solna Municipality. Retrieved on 12 February 2010.
  17. ^ "SAS koncernbyggnad." Solna Municipality. Retrieved on 12 February 2010.
  18. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 29 March 1986. "Scandinavian Airlines System" 122.
  19. ^ "SAS removes Dash 8 Q400 from service permanently". SAS Group. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 

External links

Company websites

Other websites


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