Even before the group’s new subsidiary is on the wings, SAS management is opening its doors for SAS Connect to become a separate business concept.
SAS Aviation Group’s plans to split the business into three different subsidiaries have caught the minds of the company’s pilots and cabin crew.
It was recently announced that SAS is setting up SAS Connect (formerly SAS Ireland) and the regional company, SAS Link, in parallel with the core business of SAS Scandinavia.
In particular, 560 laid-off Scandinavian pilots, of whom about 200 were Norwegian, responded that in the future SAS will focus all growth on Connect.
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This is done by another type of aircraft, the Airbus A320, which practically excludes pilots from the main business, which is allegedly made up of mainly Boeing 737s.
Thus the pilots believe that SAS is circumventing the five-year reemployment obligation, while SAS rejects this and points out that Connect is another company, not Scandinavian SAS.
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It now turns out that SAS Connect could have its own legs to stand on in the future.
In an interview with the Danish industry website check inCOO Simon Pauck Hansen opens SAS Connect as a stand-alone business concept.
Check-in indicates that Lufthansa has Eurowings, Air France-KLM has Transavia and IAG has Vueling in the lower cost segment.
There are those who are marketing them as their own business concepts, and we must also consider them in the future. We may need something that can also differentiate products more so that we can segment our offer to market, says Executive Vice President of check in, continues;
– It is possible that in the future we can think of a different business concept and scheme that will make them more separate.
He adds that SAS will explore how the company can achieve more in the more price-sensitive segment of the leisure travel market.
It will make up a larger part of our customer base in the future, says Buck Hansen.
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The check-in indicates that SAS Connect will be operated with an operationally efficient Airbus A320neo, and that agreements have already been entered into with the Flyvebranchens Personale Union (FPU) of Denmark.
These should be cheaper and more flexible than the agreements SAS has so far had with the Danish Pilots Association, as part of the SAS Pilot Group, it has been pointed out.
Pauck Hansen believes it is critical for SAS to have three legs to stand on, as SAS Connect will face competition from low-cost players and SAS Link will be a regional platform, as well as core business SAS Scandinavia.
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SAS Link will primarily consist of six smaller Embraer 195-E aircraft, which will be delivered in the first half of 2022. The company will fly regionally and operate key operations in Scandinavian SAS.
SAS Connect will establish a base in Copenhagen at the beginning of 2022, and has ambitions to establish bases in both Oslo and Stockholm in the long term. SAS has a total of 80 Airbus A320neo aircraft on order, and Connect will compete with low-cost carriers in the leisure market.
Link and Connect are internal names for production companies. Externally, it will be marketed as “SAS”, like other activities.
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