Scandinavian Airlines, more commonly known and styled as SAS, is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. SAS is an abbreviation of the company’s full name, Scandinavian Airlines System or legally Scandinavian Airlines System Denmark-Norway-Sweden. Part of the SAS Group and headquartered at the SAS Frösundavik Office Building in Solna, Sweden, the airline operates 180 aircraft to 90 destinations (as of December 2019). The airline’s main hub is at Copenhagen-Kastrup Airport, with connections to 109 destinations around the world. Stockholm Arlanda Airport (with 106 destinations) is the second largest hub, with Oslo Airport, Gardermoen being the third major hub of SAS. Minor hubs also exist at Bergen Airport, Flesland, Göteborg Landvetter Airport, Stavanger Airport, Sola, and Trondheim Airport, Værnes. SAS Cargo is an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines and its main office is at Copenhagen Airport.
In 2017, SAS carried 28.6 million passengers, achieving revenues of 40 billion Swedish kronor. This makes it the eighth-largest airline in Europe and the largest in Denmark and Sweden. The SAS fleet is composed of 180 aircraft consisting of Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Airbus A320neo, Airbus A321, Airbus A330, Airbus A350, and Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft. SAS also wet leases Airbus A320neo, ATR 72, and Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft.
The airline was founded in 1946 as a consortium to pool the transatlantic operations of Swedish airline Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik, Norway’s Det Norske Luftfartselskap and Det Danske Luftfartselskab of Denmark. The consortium was extended to cover European and domestic cooperation two years later. In 1951, all the airlines were merged to create SAS. SAS has been described as “an icon of Norwegian–Swedish–Danish cooperation”. On 27 June 2018, the Norwegian government announced that it had sold all its shares in SAS.
In 1997, SAS was a founding member of one of the major airline alliances, Star Alliance.
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 combined air traffic of these three Scandinavian countries. The first president of SAS was Per A. Norlin. On 17 September 1946, operations started under the new entity and the first international service was conducted between Stockholm and New York. Within a half-year, SAS set a new record for carrying the heaviest single piece of air cargo across the Atlantic on a scheduled passenger airliner, by shipping a 1,400-pound electrical panel from New York to the Sandvik company in Sweden.
In 1948, the Swedish flag carrier AB Aerotransport joined SAS and quickly coordinated its European operations between both carriers. Three years later, the companies formally merged to form the SAS Consortium. When established, ownership of the airline was divided between SAS Danmark (28.6%), SAS Norge (28.6%), and SAS Sverige (42.8%), all of which were owned 50% by private investors and 50% by their governments.
During 1954, SAS became the first airline to commence scheduled flights on a polar route, flying Douglas DC-6Bs from Copenhagen to Los Angeles with stops in Søndre Strømfjord (now Kangerlussuaq) in Greenland and Winnipeg in Canada. By summer 1956, traffic on the route had justified the frequency to be increased to three flights per week. The service proved relatively popular with Hollywood celebrities and members of the film industry, and the route turned out to be a publicity coup for SAS. Thanks to a tariff structure that allowed free transit to other European destinations via Copenhagen, this trans-polar route gained increasing popularity with American tourists throughout the 1950s.
During 1957, SAS was the first airline to offer around-the-world service over the North Pole via a second polar route served by Douglas DC-7Cs flying from Copenhagen to Tokyo via Anchorage International Airport in Alaska. The flight via Alaska was a compromise solution since the Soviet Union would not allow SAS, among other air carriers, to fly across Siberia between Europe and Japan, and Chinese airspace was also closed.
In 1959, SAS entered the jet age, having procured a number of French-built Sud Aviation Caravelles as the company’s first jetliner. During the following year, another jetliner, the Douglas DC-8, was also inducted into the fleet.
In addition to modern airliners, SAS also adopted innovative operating practices and systems to improve the customer experience. In 1965, it was the first airline to introduce an electronic reservation system. During 1971, SAS introduced its first Boeing 747 jumbo jet into service. In 1982, SAS was recognised as the most punctual airline operating in Europe at that time.
During its first decades, the airline built two large hotels in central Copenhagen, SAS Royal Hotel (5 stars) and the even larger SAS Hotel Scandinavia (4 stars, with a casino on the 26th floor). In 1980, SAS opened its first hotel outside of Scandinavia, the SAS Kuwait Hotel. By 1989, SAS’s hotels division owned a 40 percent share in the Intercontinental Hotels Group. Following the deregulation of commercial aviation in Europe and the competitive pressures from new rivals, SAS experienced economic difficulties (as did many incumbent flag carrier airlines) this heavily contributed to the airline’s decision to sell its hotel chain to the Radisson Hotel Group during 1992.
SAS operated flights to Greenland for more than 50 years until March 2003. The route reopened in spring 2007 until January 2009.
Consolidation, acquisitions, and partnerships
During 1981, Jan Carlzon was appointed as the CEO of SAS; during his tenure, the company underwent a successful financial turnaround of the company starting in 1981 and who envisioned SAS ownership of multiple airlines worldwide. SAS gradually acquired control of the domestic markets in all three countries; this was achieved by acquiring full or partial control of various competing local airlines, including Braathens and Widerøe in Norway; Linjeflyg and Skyways Express in Sweden; and Cimber Air in Denmark. During 1989, SAS acquired 18.4% of the Texas Air Corporation, the parent company of Continental Airlines, in a bid to form a global alliance. However, this did not come about and the stake in the Texas Air Corporation was subsequently sold on. During the 1990s, SAS also acquired a 20 percent stake in British Midland, as well as purchasing 95 percent of Spanair, the second-largest airline in Spain, in addition to Air Greenland.
During the early 1990s, SAS unsuccessfully tried to merge itself with the Dutch airline KLM, along with Austrian Airlines and Swissair, in a proposed combined entity commonly called Alcazar. However, months of negotiations towards this ambitious merger ultimately collapsed due to multiple unsettled issues; this strategic failure heavily contributed to the departure of Carlzon that same year and his replacement by Jan Reinås. The airline marked its 50th year of operation on 1 August 1996 with the harmonization and name of SAS’s parent company to SAS Danmark A/S, SAS Norge ASA and SAS Sverige AB. During May 1997, SAS became a founding member of the global Star Alliance network, joining with airlines such as Air Canada, Lufthansa, Thai Airways International, and United Airlines.
During June 2001, the ownership structure of SAS was changed, 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%), while the remaining 50 per cent of shares were publicly held and traded on the stock market. During 2004, SAS was again restructured, being divided into four separate companies: SAS Scandinavian Airlines Sverige AB, SAS Scandinavian Airlines Danmark A/S, SAS Braathens AS, and SAS Scandinavian International AS. SAS Braathens was re-branded SAS Scandinavian Airlines Norge AS in 2007. However, during October 2009, the four companies were once again united into one company, named SAS Scandinavian System AB.
With the growth of budget airlines and decreasing fares in Scandinavia, the business experienced financial hardship. By 2009, competitive pressures had compelled the airline to launch a cost-cutting initiative. In the first step of which, the business sold its stakes in other companies, such as British Midland International, Spanair, and airBaltic, and began to restructure its operations. During January 2009, an agreement to divest more than 80 percent of the holdings in Spanair was signed with a Catalan group of investors led by Consorci de Turisme de Barcelona and Catalana d’Inciatives. These changes reportedly reduced the airliner’s expenses by around 23 percent between 2008 and 2011.
During November 2012, the company came under heavy pressure from its owners and banks to implement even heavier cost-cutting measures as a condition for continued financial support. Negotiations with the respective trade unions took place for more than a week, exceeded the original deadline; in the end, an agreement was reached between SAS and the trade unions that would increase the work time, cutting employee’s salaries by between 12 and 20 percent, along with reductions to the pension and retirement plans; these measures were aimed at keeping the airline as an operating concern. SAS drew criticism for how it had handled the negotiations, having reportedly denied facilities to the union delegations.
During 2017, SAS announced that it was forming a new airline, Scandinavian Airlines Ireland, operating out of Heathrow Airport and Málaga Airport to fly European routes on its parent’s behalf using nine Airbus A320neos. SAS sought to replace its own aircraft with cheaper ones crewed and based outside Scandinavia to compete better with other airlines. The Swedish Pilots Union expressed its dissatisfaction with the operational structure of the new airline, suggesting it violated the current labour agreements. The Swedish Cabin Crew Union also condemned the new venture and stated that SAS established the airline to “not pay decent salaries” to cabin crew.
During 2018, SAS announced that it had placed an order for 50 Airbus A320neo narrow-body jetliners to facilitate the creation of a single-type fleet. That same year, the Norwegian government divested its stake in the airline. As part of an environmental initiative launched by San Francisco International Airport (SFO), SAS flights operating out of SFO since December 2018 have been supplied with sustainable aviation fuel from Shell and SkyNRG.
In July 2021, the European Commission has approved a Swedish and Danish aid measure of approximately US$356 million to support SAS. In September 2021, SAS announced that it would establish two operating subsidiaries; SAS Connect and SAS Link, with its existing SAS Ireland subsidiary to be rebranded as the new SAS Connect, while SAS Link would initially operate the airline’s Emrbaer E195 aircraft, and the operations of both companies to begin by early 2022.
Following little progress with SAS’s restructing plan, SAS Forward, the Swedish government announced on 7 June 2022 that Sweden, which owns 21.8% of the company, would not inject new capital into SAS and that it did “not aim to be a long-term shareholder in the company”. The airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States on 5 July 2022.
The key trends for Scandinavian Airlines Group (which includes SAS Cargo, SAS Ground Handling, and SAS Tech), are shown below (since 2012, for years ending 31 October):
|Profit before tax (EBT) (SEKm)||−1,522||−33||543||228||1,648||−918||1,417||1,431||1,725||2,041||794||−10,151|
|Number of employees (average FTE)||14,438||13,723||13,479||13,591||14,127||12,329||11,288||10,710||10,324||10,146||10,445||7,568|
|Number of passengers (m)||27.0||27.1||29.0||25.9||30.4||29.4||28.1||29.4||30.1||30.1||29.8||12.6|
|Passenger load factor (%)||72.7||75.6||74.9||76.7||75.0||76.9||76.3||76.0||76.8||75.7||75.2||60.5|
|Total unit cost (CASK) (SEK)||1.01||0.95||0.86||0.81||0.80||0.75||0.79||0.70||0.69||0.72||0.78||1.15|
|Total unit revenue (RASK) (SEK)||0.92||0.86||0.82||0.82||0.78||0.70||0.80||0.76||0.80|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||172||159||147||145||139||138||152||156||158||157||158||161|
Scandinavian Airlines’ head office is located in the SAS Frösundavik Office Building in Frösundavik, Solna Municipality, Sweden, near Stockholm. Between 2011 and 2013, the head office was located at Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) in Sigtuna Municipality, Sweden. The SAS Cargo Group A/S head office is in Kastrup, Tårnby Municipality, Denmark.
The SAS Frösundavik Office Building, was designed by Niels Torp Architects and built between 1985 and 1987. The move from Solna to Arlanda was completed in 2010. A previous SAS head office was located on the grounds of Bromma Airport in Stockholm. In 2013 SAS announced that it once again would relocate to Frösundavik.
As for other airlines, burned fossil fuel and emitted greenhouse gases are significant side effects from the company activities. The following table gives and overview of emissions of greenhouse gases in CO2e emitted by the company as reported in the European Union Emission Trading Scheme. Data for passengers, aircraft and profit from section Business Trends above.
|Emissions (tonnes CO2e)||2334686||2366299||2357470||2432546||2485804||2466820|
|Emissions per passenger (kg)||77||80||84||83||83||82|
|Emissions per aircraft (tonnes CO2e)||16796||17147||15510||15593||15733||15712|
|Profit (million SEK)||1648||−918||1417||1431||1725||2041|
|Profit per emissions (SEK/tonne)||706||−388||601||588||694||827|
In contrast to most other businesses and private individuals in Sweden, airlines are exempt from the Swedish carbon tax. Had SAS paid the Swedish carbon tax level of SEK 1180 (EUR 114) per tonne (as of 2019) for all of its emissions, it would have had significant impact on recent profit levels. Since 2012 airlines are included in the EU ETS. In January 2013 the price for extra emission rights on top of the granted were approximately EUR 6.3 per tonne. In May 2017 the price was EUR 4.9 per tonne.
Scandinavian Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- All Nippon Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Swiss International Air Lines
- Thai Airways International
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
Scandinavian Airlines has interlining agreements with the following airlines:
- Air Greenland
- Pakistan International Airlines
As of April 2022, Scandinavian Airlines operates the following aircraft:
|Airbus A220-300||3||—||—||—||145||145||Operated by airBaltic.|
|Airbus A319-100||4||—||—||—||150||150||One painted in retro livery.|
Three painted in Star Alliance livery.
|Airbus A320neo||36||24||—||—||180||180||Deliveries until 2025.|
Replacing Boeing 737-700 and Boeing 737-800.
|14||6||Operated by Scandinavian Airlines Connect.|
|Airbus A350-900||6||2||40||32||228||300||Deliveries until 2024.|
|ATR 72-600||7||—||—||—||70||70||Operated by Xfly|
|Boeing 737-700||8||—||—||—||141||141||To be retired and replaced by Airbus A320neo.|
|Bombardier CRJ-900||19||—||—||—||90||90||Operated by CityJet|
|7||88||88||Operated by Xfly|
|Embraer E195||6||—||—||—||114||114||Operated by SAS Link.|
Future fleet plans
On 20 June 2011, SAS announced an order for 30 new A320neo aircraft as part of its fleet harmonisation plan. SAS’ stated goal is to have an all-Airbus fleet at its bases in Stockholm and Copenhagen by 2019, with a mixed A320neo and A320ceo fleet operation at both bases. The base in Oslo will then operate mostly Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with a few 737-700s also being retained. The older, smaller 737-600s are disposed in 2019. The first of the order of A320neos was delivered in October 2016. In April 2018, SAS announced an order of 50 more A320neos to replace all 737NGs and older A320ceos in service as part of its goal to have an all-Airbus fleet by 2023. In september 2021 the Airline signed a letter of intent for 15 Embraer E195. The order is planned to replace all of the 737-700s currently operated by the airline mostly out of Oslo gardermoen. Six E195 are scheduled to arrive in the two first quarters of 2022. These planes will be operating with SAS subsidiary SAS link.
On 25 June 2013, SAS and Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating that SAS intends to buy twelve new-generation aircraft, including six options. The agreement consists of eight A350-900s with six options and four A330-300Es. The first new long haul aircraft to enter service will be the A330-300E, which were originally planned to replace the aging A340-300s in 2015 as leasing agreements on these aircraft expire. Instead, SAS renewed the leasing agreements to be able to expand its long-haul fleet and used the new A330-300Es to add more long-haul destinations to its network.
The first 6 of 8 Airbus A350-900s for SAS was delivered to the airline 2019 and was to be to operate long haul routes from 2020. The A350 will first fly on the Copenhagen and Chicago route, with the airline planning Beijing, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and San Francisco when more A350 are delivered.
In September 2019, SAS unveiled an all-new livery, which will initially be showcased on a new A350 and an A320neo, before gradually being rolled out to the whole fleet. SAS expects the whole fleet to be repainted by 2024. The fuselage is kept in a light beige with the “SAS” logotype in silver displayed prominently across the height of the front section. The vertical stabiliser and adjacent parts of the fuselage are blue with the SAS logo in white shown on the stabiliser. The blue area on the rear fuselage extends towards the front in a curved line. The horizontal stabilisers are beige (except for the ATR-72 aircraft where they are blue). Winglets are blue as well. The engine casings are beige with a vertical blue stripe at the front and bear the word “Scandinavian” in blue. “Scandinavian” in large blue letters is also displayed on the underbelly of the aircraft.
The previous livery was introduced in 1998 and is designed by SthlmLab (Stockholm Design Lab). SAS aircraft look predominantly white, however, the fuselage is in a very light beige (Pantone Warm Gray 2/Pantone 9083C) with “Scandinavian” above the windows in silver lettering (Pantone 877) and “Airlines” below the windows in white. The typeface used is Rotis Semi Serif. The vertical stabiliser (and winglets) are painted blue (Pantone 2738C) with the classic white SAS logo on it. It is a variant of the traditional SAS logotype, slimmed slightly and stylised by the design company Stockholm Design Lab, as part of the SAS livery change. The engine casing is painted in scarlet (Pantone Warm Red/Pantone 179C) with the word Scandinavian in white, the thrust reversers in the colour of the fuselage. All other text is painted in Pantone Warm Gray 9. The design also features stylised versions of the Scandinavian flags. All aircraft are named, traditionally after Vikings.
Apart from the standard livery, SAS also has an Airbus A319 in retro livery and two Boeing 737s in Star Alliance livery.
On long-haul flights business class, called SAS Business, is offered and features wide sleeper seats. On the A330s and A350s seating is 1-2-1 on seats that convert into 196–202-centimetre (77–80 in) flat beds, with power sockets and a 15-inch (380 mm) entertainment screen. On the A321LRs business class has alternating 2-2 and 1-1 seating, all convertible to flat beds.
Plus is SAS’ premium economy class. On the A330s seating is 2-3-2, 2-4-2 on the A350s and on the A321LR it is 2-2. The seats offered on SAS Plus are wider than those in the SAS Go section.
On European flights, SAS Plus tickets are refundable and include a meal, a double checked-in baggage allowance, and access to lounges and fast track security at the airport. The SAS Plus passengers are seated at the front of the aircraft and passengers can choose their seat at booking for free, but the seats there are otherwise the same as the SAS Go seats. The two-class system was introduced in June 2013, when business class was eliminated from intra-European flights.
SAS Go, or economy offers 3-3 seating on intracontinental flights, 2-4-2 on the A330s and 3-3-3 on the A350s.
SAS offers free coffee and tea to GO passengers on short-haul services, except very short flights like Bergen-Stavanger or Stockholm-Visby. Meals are served to all passengers on long-haul flights.
SAS Go Light
SAS Go Light is a variant of SAS Go with no checked luggage included. Tickets are sold in the same booking class as SAS Go and are otherwise identical. As of 14 December 2017, SAS Go Light is available on both European and long-haul flights. It is not available on flights within Nordic countries. SAS Go Light is aimed at competing with low-cost carriers for those who travel with hand luggage only. Extra luggage allowance for EuroBonus Silver, Gold, and Diamond members does not apply on SAS Go Light tickets and is only valid for EuroBonus Pandion members.
SAS’s frequent-flyer program is called EuroBonus. Members earn points on all SAS and Widerøe flights as well as on Star Alliance flights. Around 50 percent of SAS’ total revenues are generated by EuroBonus members. By August 2015, the EuroBonus program had in excess of four million members.
During May 2018, SAS launched a new high-speed Wi‑Fi Internet access system supplied by Viasat. The service is being rolled out on both the short- and medium-haul fleets, it is expected to take two years to complete. The new system is much faster than previously available and will enable passengers to stream movies on board. Before this, SAS only offered Internet access on board on its long haul aircraft and a small number of Boeing 737s. Wi‑Fi Internet access is free for Eurobonus Gold and Diamond members as well as for those travelling in SAS Plus or Business. Otherwise, it can be purchased with EuroBonus points or for a small fee.
- Flightstats: World’s Most Punctual Airline
- Simpliflying: Best Use of Social Media in a Crisis Situation
- Edge Awards: Favourite Airline
- Grand Travel Award: Europe’s Best Airline
- Webbie: Online Campaign of the Year
- Webbie Award: Online Campaign of the Year
- Freddie Awards: Best Customer Service in Europe/Africa
- Sustainable Brand Index: Most Sustainable Airline
- Grand Travel Award: Europe’s Best Airline
- Grand Travel Award: Europe’s Best Airline
- ServiceScore: Airline with highest service standards.
Accidents and incidents
Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), commonly known as Scandinavian Airlines, is the national airline of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Owned by the eponymous SAS Group, it operates out of three main hubs, Copenhagen Airport, Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, and Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. It transported 22.9 million passengers to 90 destinations on an average 683 flights daily in 2011.
Of the airline’s twenty-three major accidents and incidents, four have resulted in the loss of life. The first was the 1948 Northwood mid-air collision over London, with which 39 fatalities made it the deadliest accident in the United Kingdom at the time. In the 1960 Flight 871 to Istanbul, the aircraft descended too early, resulting in 42 people perishing in the first accident of the Sud Aviation Caravelle. The same cause was responsible nine years later in Los Angeles, when 15 people were killed in Flight 933. The final and most deadly accident was Flight 686, where 114 people were killed in a runway collision in Milan.
SAS has been subject to three hijackings—none of which have resulted in the loss of lives. Two were successful: Flight 130 in 1972 was captured by the Croatian National Resistance, while Flight 347 in 1994 was captured in the ruse of the Bosnian War. Two accidents have been dramatized as part of the television series Mayday. In addition to Flight 686, it featured Flight 751, which crashed without fatalities in a forest in Gottröra after foreign object damage. Fifteen accidents have resulted in aircraft being written off. This includes two of the Dash 8 landing gear incidents in September 2007, which resulted in a group-wide retirement of the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400.
The following is a list of all major accidents involving Scandinavian Airlines. It includes all fatal accidents, all write-offs, all hijackings, and other major incidents. SAS registers its aircraft in one of the three Scandinavian countries. Aircraft with registration starting with LN are registered in Norway, SE in Sweden, and OY in Denmark. Unless otherwise noted, all accidents and incidents had no fatalities and ended with the aircraft being written off. All times are local.
|4 July 1948 |
| Northwood, near RAF Northolt, London, United Kingdom ||Mid-air collision||Douglas DC-6 (SE-BDA)||After an hour of circling over Northolt, the SAS aircraft announced its departure from the stack. Upon gaining height, it collided with an Avro York of the Royal Air Force. In what was at the time the United Kingdom’s most severe aviation accident as all 39 people on board both aircraft were killed. Contributory causes were issues with the York setting the correct atmospheric pressure and correct communication. The incident contributed to an increase in the vertical separation of aircraft.|
|22 January 1949|| Luleå Airport, Luleå, Sweden ||Fire||Douglas C-47 |
|The aircraft was destroyed in a fire.|
|1 April 1951|| Stockholm-Bromma Airport, Stockholm, Sweden ||Engine failure||Douglas C-47 |
|Upon having one of the engines catch on fire, the pilot chose to land the aircraft on a road near the airport. All 22 people on board the Copenhagen to Stockholm flight were evacuated before the aircraft was consumed in the ensuing fire.|
|22 November 1957|| Norrköping Airport, Norrköping, Sweden ||Belly landing||Douglas DC-6B |
|During a training flight the aircraft was subject to a belly landing. All five people on board were evacuated before the aircraft was consumed in the ensuing fire.|
|19 January 1960 |
|Near Esenboğa International Airport, Ankara, Turkey||Controlled flight into terrain||Sud Aviation Caravelle |
|During approach the pilots descended unintentionally below authorized minimum flight altitude, for reasons which have not been established. The Caravelle crashed 10 km (6 mi) from the runway. All 42 people on board were killed in the impact in what was the first accident of a Caravelle.|
|8 February 1965|| Tenerife North Airport, La Laguna, Spain ||Pilot error||Douglas DC-7C |
|During take-off to Copenhagen the landing gear was retracted prematurely. This caused the aircraft to sink down on the runway and catch fire.|
|13 January 1969 |
| Santa Monica Bay near Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, United States ||Controlled flight into terrain||Douglas DC-8-62 |
|During approach the nose gear indicator lights failed to turn on, due to a burnt-out light bulb. The pilots became preoccupied with fixing the nose gear issue that they lost their situation awareness, failing to keep track of the aircraft’s altitude. The aircraft crashed into water 6 NM (11 km; 7 mi) from the runway, killing 15 of 45 people on board.|
|19 April 1970|| Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport, Fiumicino, Italy ||Engine failure||Douglas DC-8-62 |
|50 m (160 ft) into the take-off roll the first stage fan disk the no. one engine failed, causing a leak in the number two fuel tank. Meanwhile, debris ricocheted off the runway and compromised the center fuel tank. The fuel then caught fire.|
|17 May 1971|| Bulltofta Airport, Malmö, Sweden ||Hijacking||McDonnell Douglas DC-9||A 21-year-old American deserter took his girlfriend hostage and threatened his way through the airport to the aircraft. Once aboard, he demanded that the aircraft fly to Stockholm, where it was scheduled to fly. The 24 passengers were evacuated without difficulties. The police considered shooting him, but instead one of his friends was able to talk him out of the situation. The hijacker suffered from paranoia after he was assaulted by fellow soldiers while serving in Germany.|
|15 September 1972|| Bulltofta Airport, Malmö, Sweden ||Hijacking||McDonnell Douglas DC-9-21 |
|Three members of the Croatian National Resistance took control of the domestic flight from Torslanda Airport, Gothenburg, and redirected it to Bulltofta. They demanded the release of seven fellow Croatian separatist prisoners who had attacked two Yugoslavian diplomatic missions the year before. Six of these were exchanged for the release of 86 passengers, a full tank and half a million Swedish krona. The aircraft then flew to Madrid–Barajas Airport, where the hijackers surrendered—after 23 hours. They and the prisoners were never returned to Sweden.|
|30 January 1973 |
| Oslo Airport, Fornebu, Bærum, Norway ||Runway overrun||McDonnell Douglas DC-9-21 |
|The Tromsø and Alta-headed flight stalled after rotating at 125 kn (232 km/h; 144 mph). The captain aborted the take-off with a speed of 140 kn (260 km/h; 160 mph), but the remaining 1,100 m (3,600 ft) was not sufficient to brake the aircraft with the reversers not operating correctly. The aircraft overran the runway and came to rest on the ice-covered Oslofjord, 20 m (66 ft) from the bank. All occupants were evacuated, and the aircraft broke through the ice and sank 20 minutes later.|
|25 January 1974|| Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sigtuna, Sweden ||Ground collision||Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III |
|The aircraft collided with a service truck and sustained damages beyond repair.|
|1 January 1976|| Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup, Denmark ||Foreign object damage||McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 |
|After take-off from runway 22L the number one engine failed following ingestion of black-headed gulls. The aircraft turned around and carried out an emergency landing. The aircraft was repaired after the incident.|
|28 February 1984 |
| John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, United States ||Runway overrun||McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 |
|Upon landing, the DC-10 overshot and overran runway 04R by 1,440 m (4,720 ft). The pilots steered the aircraft starboard to avoid hitting approach lights and came to a rest in shallow water. The cause was the crew’s failure to follow the proper procedures for monitoring and controlling airspeed, overreliance on the autothrottle, malfunction of the autothrottle’s control system, and failure to carry out a missed approach. Although substantially damaged, the aircraft was repaired and returned to service.|
|27 February 1987|| Trondheim Airport, Værnes, Stjørdal, Norway ||Hard landing||McDonnell Douglas DC-9-41 |
|During approach to Værnes the air traffic control asked the pilots to contact the SAS station on company frequency. Despite the violation of regulation the captain interrupted his checklist to contact the airline dispatcher. When completed, he skipped a point in the checklist and did not arm the spoilers. The first officer noticed this just before touch-down, shouting out “Spoilers.” The captain extended the spoilers, realized his mistake, and retracted them, but the aircraft underwent a high sink rate and had a heavy touchdown. A go-around was executed, and after landing severe structural damage was found to the undercarriage, engines, and tail cone. There were no fatalities, but the aircraft was written off.|
|27 December 1991 |
| Gottröra near Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden ||Foreign object damage||McDonnell Douglas MD-81 |
|Ice had collected on the wings’ inner roots prior to take off. It broke off and was sucked into the engines as the aircraft became airborne on takeoff. After both engines failed within two minutes of takeoff, the pilots were forced to make an emergency landing in a field. One hundred people were injured, but there were no fatalities. The accident was caused by SAS’ instructions and routines being inadequate to ensure that clear ice was removed from the wings of the aircraft prior to takeoff.|
|24 November 1993 |
| Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup, Denmark ||Technical fault||McDonnell Douglas MD-87 |
|During taxiing before take-off, in which the cabin crew detected electrical smoke. The fire occurred in electrical wires which fed power to a utility plug and lighting in a stowage closet. This was again caused by a slack in the wiring. Flight 666 returned to gate where it was evacuated. A fire subsequently broke out and destroyed the aft interior and part of the fuselage. The aircraft was repaired.|
|3 November 1994|| Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, Ullensaker, Norway ||Hijacking||McDonnell Douglas MD-82||The flight from Bardufoss Airport was hijacked mid-air by a Bosnian living in Norway. All women, children and seniors of the 122 passengers were let off on the scheduled stopover at Bodø Airport. The hijacker demanded that Norwegian authorities help to stop the humanitarian suffering in his country caused by the Bosnian War. Some of his demands were met and he subsequently surrendered after seven hours.|
|8 October 2001 |
| Linate Airport, Milan, Italy ||Runway collision||McDonnell Douglas MD-87 |
|The SAS airliner carrying 110 people collided on take-off with a Cessna Citation CJ2 business jet carrying four people. All 114 people on board the two aircraft were killed, as were four on the ground. A further four people on the ground were injured. Although the immediate cause was the incursion of the Cessna on to the active runway, the underlying cause was a series of deficiencies in the airport layout and procedures, including lack of ground radar and guidance signs.|
|9 September 2007 |
| Aalborg Airport, Aalborg, Denmark ||Technical fault||Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 |
|Prior to landing, the right main landing gear failed to lock and the crew circled for an hour before attempting a prepared emergency landing. Upon touchdown, the right landing gear collapsed, the right wing touched ground and a fire broke out. The fire went out before the aircraft came to rest and all passengers and crew were evacuated. Five people suffered minor injuries, some from propeller parts entering the cabin and others from the evacuation.|
|12 September 2007 |
| Vilnius Airport, Vilnius, Lithuania ||Technical fault||Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 |
|The flight was headed to Palanga, but was diverted to Vilnius Airport when landing gear problems were discovered before landing. Upon touchdown, the right landing gear collapsed. All passengers and crew were evacuated safely. SAS grounded their entire Q400 fleet consisting of 27 aircraft, and a few hours later the manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace recommended that all the Q400 aircraft with more than 10,000 flights stay grounded until further notice.|
|27 October 2007 |
| Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup, Denmark ||Technical fault||Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 |
|Upon discovering problems with the main landing gear, two hours were spent in the air to burn fuel and troubleshoot. The pilots carried out an emergency landing with the right main landing gear up. The right engine was shut off for the landing, because in the previous landings the propeller had hit the ground and shards of it ripped into the fuselage. This was not on the emergency checklist, rather it was the pilots making a safety-based decision. The following day SAS announced a group-wide permanent and immediate retirement of the Q400.|
|1 May 2013 |
| Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark, United States ||Ground collision||Airbus A330-300 |
|SAS Flight 908 to Oslo was on the taxiway queueing for take-off behind an Embraer ERJ 145 of ExpressJet. After orders from air traffic control, upon turning right the Airbus’s left wing hit the horizontal and vertical stabilizers of the Embraer. The Airbus suffered minor damage, while the Embraer was severely damaged, but repaired.|
|25 October 2017 |
|Turku Airport, Turku, Finland||Runway overrun||Bombardier CRJ-900 (EI-FPD)||Flight SK4236 from Stockholm to Turku overran runway 26 upon arrival. It had been snowing in Finland Proper earlier that day. There were no fatalities. As of 11/2017, the incident is under investigation by the Finnish Safety Investigation Authority.|
|28 sepetember 201804:22||Luleå Airport, Luleå, Sweden||Engine fire||Boeing 737-600 (LN-RRP)||Flight 1049 was departing from Kiruna airport and was passing through 32,000 feet when the left engine caught fire. The flight diverted to Luleå. No injuries were reported.|
Controversial advertising campaign
On 10 February 2020, SAS released a 2 minutes and 45 seconds long commercial on YouTube titled “What is truly Scandinavian?” which tells a story about company’s values and highlighting the ideas and inventions that globalism brought to Scandinavia, which caused an outrage in various groups due to SAS choosing a different advertising message than usual. The original video received more than 136,000 dislikes and 16,000 likes. On 12 February 2020, SAS Group, a parent company of SAS, released a statement that they will continue with the advertising campaign despite the outrage.
On 13 February 2020, 3 days after commercial was published, SAS offices in Adelgade, Copenhagen and advertising agency &Co which produced the commercial received bomb threats. Later, a shorter 45 second version of the same commercial was republished on Facebook by SAS and official version on YouTube made private.
Norwegian Air quickly reacted to the controversy by publishing a message “Fortunately, nobody can take away the cheese slicer (from us)” and an image on Facebook of a cheese slicer, which Norwegians have invented.
- In 2012 the company changed its financial year to 1 November – 31 October, instead of the calendar year. The figures above are therefore for years ending 31 December until 2011, for the 10 months to 31 October 2012, and for years ending 31 October thereafter.
- 2020: Activities and income in fiscal 2020 were severely reduced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic
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Source: With Agencies