SAS issued this statement:
SAS’s strategy is to focus on those customers who travel frequently to, from and within Scandinavia. SAS continuously develops its offering and network to meet this customer group’s needs. The air travel market in Europe is experiencing intense price pressure and rising demand for leisure travel. To secure the company’s long-term competitiveness and to take an active role in the growing leisure market, SAS is now taking a further step to reduce the cost differential to newly established competitors.
If SAS is to secure the long-term profitability of key traffic flows and actively participate in the growing leisure market, SAS must have the same preconditions as other market participants. Therefore, SAS has decided to establish a new AOC in Ireland with operational bases in London and Spain. The aim is for the new operations to be up and running from winter 2017/2018, providing a smaller number of departures as a complement to SAS’s existing production.
“In line with SAS’s strategy of focusing on those customers who travel frequently to, from and within Scandinavia, the majority of SAS’s airline operations will continue to be based in Scandinavia moving forward. The establishment of new bases means we can complement our Scandinavian production and, in time, build an even broader network with a superior schedule to the benefit of our customers,” says Rickard Gustafson, SAS President and CEO.
The aircraft based in London and Spain will have the same customer offering and appearance as other airline operations at SAS and with corresponding requirements in terms of safety and standards.
At the start, smaller start-up costs for the new AOC and new bases are expected to impact earnings. Initially, the financial effects from operations at these bases will be small, but will gradually increase as operations grow.
In parallel with establishing the new AOC, SAS has planned further structural measures for its operations, in line with those announced in the 2015/2016 year-end report.
Copyright Photo: Scandinavian Airlines-SAS Airbus A320-251N WL LN-RGN (msn 7341) PMI (Javier Rodriguez). Image: 936438.