SAS Scandinavian Airlines inaugurated its new six times weekly service between Copenhagen and the US city of San Francisco on April 8, 2013 almost nine months after revealing its network expansion in the US market. The new flight marks the return of the Scandinavian flag carrier to the US West Coast after an almost four year hiatus having previously served Los Angeles and Seattle from Copenhagen.
The new San Francisco service is being supplemented by additional flights on its existing route from the Danish capital to New York where a new three times weekly evening departure was introduced from April 1, 2013. North America has always been an important market for SAS and over recent years a number of International and Nordic companies have expressed a strong desire for a direct service between the US West Coast and the Nordic countries.
The Scandinavian carrier has previously served both Los Angeles and Seattle on the US West Coast but both links were suspended during the past two decades due to external operational pressures. The Los Angeles route was stopped in April 1994 and while the Seattle service remained for another 15 years, it too was cut from July 2009.
“SAS has been flying to the USA for over 60 years and we have a good understanding of what customers need when they fly long-haul. We are pleased to offer a direct service from Copenhagen and a travel experience where customers can enjoy all of our services which are designed to make the journey easier and more convenient.”Rickard Gustafson
President and Chief Executive Officer, SAS
"SAS has been flying to the USA for over 60 years and we have a good understanding of what customers need when they fly long-haul. We are pleased to offer a direct service from Copenhagen and a travel experience where customers can enjoy all of our services which are designed to make the journey easier and more convenient," said Rickard Gustafson, President and Chief Executive Officer, SAS.
As a strategic hub of the US West Coast, San Francisco International Airport, will enable fast and efficient transfers to an extensive SAS partner route network on the US West Coast and the South Pacific area, including Hawaii, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver and Mexico City, while SAS also anticipates a notable demand from Scandinavia and the wider Northern European and Baltic region to the transatlantic service.
In 2012, an estimated 48,000 O&D passengers travelled between Copenhagen and San Francisco, all on indirect flight routings. SAS will stimulate this market further through the introduction of a non-stop schedule. When you consider the wider Danish market, the O&D demand to/from San Francisco increases to 62,000 passengers and when looking at the whole of Scandinavia the demand rises to 173,000.
Elsewhere, SAS has agreed a tentative arrangement with charter provider Jet Time to wet-lease four factory-new ATR 72-600s to support its regional activities in Scandinavia. Under the terms of the Letter of Intent SAS will likely operate these aircraft on its routes from Copenhagen and Stockholm for a 36 month period initially during the winter 2013/2014 and summer 2014 schedules.
"I am very pleased that SAS and Jet Time have agreed to sign a Letter of Intent. An agreement will give us greater flexibility in our fleet, and ensure that we can achieve an even more optimal organisation of our regional production,” said says Flemming Jensen, VP Operations, SAS.
The lease of the four 72-seat ATR 72-600s does not impact SAS’s current fleet arrangements with other carriers, according to Flemming Jensen. "We still enjoy close cooperation with Cimber and Braathens Regional that works to everyone's satisfaction. The Letter of Intent with Jet Time will not have any immediate impact on this cooperation," he said.