SAS Link, one of two short-haul Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) subsidiaries being launched this year, will establish a base in Bergen (BGO), Norway, this summer.
SAS will operate Embraer E195s from the airport. The carrier did not specify how many Link E195s will be based at BGO, saying the number depends on demand.
Citing a changing passenger mix driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, Star Alliance member SAS—which has traditionally focused on long-haul business traffic—is this year launching SAS Link and SAS Connect, both to have a primary base at Copenhagen (CPH).
Stockholm (ARN)-based SAS has said the two subsidiary carriers are needed because smaller, lower-cost aircraft are better suited to operate many of the short-haul routes it now flies with larger aircraft. “When the customers are changing, you have to change with them,” SAS CEO Anko van der Werff told the Aviation Week Network in a recent interview. “You cannot expect that everything will go back to 2019, 2018 or 2017. Those years will not come back. I’m quite clear about it.”
He explained that, post-pandemic, SAS expects fewer business travelers, more leisure passengers and increased competition on many routes.
With the BGO base, SAS expects to provide increased service to Norway's second largest city. “Aviation all over the world has been among the hardest hit industries since the beginning of the crisis,” Kjetil Håbjørg, head of SAS’s Norwegian operations, said in a statement. “The opening of the base for SAS Link in Bergen is part of our strategy to create a competitive and strong SAS.”
SAS said it will continuously assess demand in Norway and is open to establishing more bases in the country.