Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) survived the pandemic, but it faces new competition in its home markets. Both Finnair and Eurowings have announced new routes from Stockholm, Sweden, which will take SAS’s long-haul and short-haul operations, respectively, while two new airlines appear to be doing the same in Norway.
In its latest quarterly report, SAS said that there has been a “gradual increase in demand” during the summer, but it “will take years” before demand returns to pre-pandemic levels.
Finnair in Stockholm
Finnair is no stranger to Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, but the Finnish flag carrier will now base three aircraft to operate five new long-haul routes. Given the list of destinations, the airline clearly wants to take advantage of Norwegian Air’s departure from the long-haul market.
From October, Finnair will serve Bangkok, Miami and Phuket twice a week. In November, it adds a three-week service to Los Angeles, with a three-week service to New York starting just before Christmas.
Finnair is part of the Oneworld alliance along with 13 other airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia.
Eurowings is finally entering Scandinavia
Despite its Star Alliance partnership with SAS, the German airline Lufthansa has long sought a firmer foothold in Scandinavia. Now its budget subsidiary Eurowings will open a base at Stockholm Arlanda.
Eurowings seems confident of success and chooses to base five A320s at the airport serving the first 12 destinations. The routes are aimed at both business and leisure travel, many of which will compete directly with SAS. In particular, Eurowing’s 11 weekly flights between Stockholm and Copenhagen will surely shake up the market.
Eurowings will also operate a route to Birmingham (BHX), a route previously operated twice by SAS.
In addition to Finnair and Eurowings, Ryanair has also moved to Stockholm Arlanda with both international and domestic routes.
New competition in Norway
SAS is also facing new competition in another of its home markets, Norway. The start-up airline Flyr has quickly established itself on domestic routes in Norway but will now launch services from Oslo to popular international destinations including Copenhagen and Malaga.
There will also be new competition in the long-haul market when Norse Atlantic Airways is launched in 2022. It is expected to fly from Oslo to New York, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.