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SAS Celebrates 70 Years in the Skies

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SAS is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
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The airline began operations as a group on August 1, 1946 following the merger of the Norwegian, Danish and Swedish international airline operations.

The ignaugural flight of the newly formed SAS group took place on September 17, 1946 on a DC-4 “Dan Viking” which flew 28 specially invited guests from Stockholm to New York. Crossing the Atlantic was a 25 hour journey with stops in Copenhagen, Prestwick in Scotland and Gander in Newfoundland. Which goes to show just how much air travel has improved from those glory days.

“The anniversary marks SAS’s position as Scandinavia’s preferred airline, focusing on making life easy for travelers to, from, and within Scandinavia. I am grateful to each and every passenger and employee that has contributed to SAS’ 70 year long history and our future to come. We’ve been part of seventy years of unique travel stories, and there are many more to come“, says Rickard Gustafson, CEO and Group President, SAS.

Simply Delightful

Over the decades, SAS has dedicated itself to innovation and making travel more pleasant for its customers.The airline has been quick to adopt technology to simplify and personalise the travel process.

“We want to make life easier for frequent travelers to, from, and within Scandinavia, and we are continuously working on innovation and development to ensure that our customers have a seamless journey, with smart, digital solutions. If we continue to show our frequent travelers that we do actually make life easier, SAS will still be vital in the future for those of us who live, work, and travel in this part of the world.” says Rickard Gustafson.

Service improvements include upgraded SAS Lounges, new SAS Café Lounges, and Fast Track check-in and security clearance.

This autumn, SAS will equip all cabin crew with special iPad Mini Cabin Crew Devices which will make their work easier onboard and help improve passenger service onboard. With these connected devices, crew will be able to check on the status of luggage transfers, passengers’ flight conections and information on their EuroBonus membership.

Over the past few years, the airline has launched a new upgraded cabin and expanded its international routes with flights from Scandinavia to Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Boston A new route from Copenhagen and Oslo to Miami will launch this September.

The airlines SAS Labs innovations division works on ideas and projects which could shape the future of travel.

SAS Labs works on simple fixes, like new personalized luggage tags, and also some Sci-Fi projects. In fact, the airline hopes to get under customer’s skin with biometric boarding passes.

SAS Timeline

Here’s a nice list of the milestones of SAS’ 70 year history:

1910-1939

  • 1918 Det Danske Luftfartselskab A/S (DDL), SAS’ Danish parent company, is founded
  • 1920 DDL is listed on the Copenhagen Stock Market
  • 1924 AB Aerotransport (ABA), SAS’ Swedish parent company, is founded
  • 1927 Det Norske Luftfartselskap A/S (DNL), SAS’ Norwegian parent company is founded.

1940-1959

  • 1946 SAS is formed from Det Danske Luftfartselskab A/S (DDL), Det Norske Luftfartselskap A/S (DNL) and Svensk Interkontinetal Lufttrafik AB (SILA). The first intercontinental flight Stockholm – New York.
  • 1951 DDL, DNL and ABA form the present SAS Consortium.
  • 1954 SAS is the world’s first airline to fly the Copenhagen – Los Angeles polar route in scheduled services.
  • 1955 SILA (which owned 50% of ABA) was quoted on the “Stockbrokers’ List” in Sweden.
  • 1957 SAS is the first airline to offer “round the world service over the North Pole.” North Pole Shortcut Copenhagen – Anchorage – Tokyo.
  • 1959 SAS enters the jet age. The first jet aircraft, Caravelle, in service.

1960-1969

  • 1960 SAS opens its first hotel, the SAS Royal Hotel Copenhagen.
  • 1965 SAS is first to introduce and electronic reservation system.
  • 1967 DNL is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

1970-1979

  • 1971 SAS puts its first Boeing 747 jumbo jet into service.

1980-1989

  • 1980 SAS opens its first hotel outside of Scandinavia, the SAS Kuwait Hotel. SILA is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
  • 1981 SAS EuroClass is introduced on all European routes.
  • 1982 SAS is the most punctual airline in Europe for the first time.
  • 1984 SAS receives Air Transport World’s distinction “Airline of the Year” for 1983.
  • 1986 Spanair is founded
  • 1989 SAS International Hotels owns 40% of Intercontinental Hotels Group. This stake sold in 1992.

1990-1999

  • 1994 Focus on airline operations in the SAS Group – sale of a number of subsidiaries.
  • 1996 SAS celebrates its 50th anniversary on August 1. Harmonization and name change of SAS parent company to SAS Danmark A/S, SAS Norge ASA and SAS Sverige AB.
  • 1997 SAS is one of the founders of Star Alliance.
  • 1998 Air Botnia becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the SAS Group.
  • 1999 The SAS Group becomes a majority owner of Widerøe.

2000-2009

  • 2001 A single SAS share is established. On July 6, SAS is listed on the stock exchanges in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Braathens is acquired by the SAS Group in December.
  • 2002 Rezidor SAS Hospitality signed a master franchise agreement with Carlson Hotels Worldwide.
  • 2003 Acquisition of 49% of the shares in Estonian Air.
  • 2004 Incorporation of Scandinavian Airlines Sverige, SAS Braathens and Scandinavian Airlines Danmark.
  • 2005 The SAS Group sells European Aeronautical Group to Navtech Inc. The SAS Group sells Jetpak Group to Polaris Private Equity and 67 % of SAS Component to Singapore Technologies Engineering. Furthermore Carlson Hotels acquires a 25 % stake in Rezidor SAS.
  • 2006 SAS celebrates 60 years. CEO Jørgen Lindegaard leaves SAS on August 1; replaced temporarily by CFO Gunnar Reitan. Rezidor Hotels introduced at the Stockholm Stock Exchange
  • 2007 Mats Jansson becomes new CEO for SAS. SAS Strategy 2011 is introduced. Flight Academy was sold. SAS Group sold its remaining stake in Rezidor to Carlson Companies
  • 2008 Datagraf acquires SAS Media. SAS Facility Management sold to Coor. SAS Group sells airBaltic to the management of the Company.
  • 2009 To facilitate the implementation of Core SAS a rights issue of appr SEK 6 billion was carried out.

2010-Present

  • 2010 To further strengthen the financial preparedness and complete Core SAS a rights issue of appr SEK 5 billion was carried out.
  • 2011 Rickard Gustafson became new CEO of SAS. The stragegy plan 4Excellence was launched.
  • 2012 SAS launched the restructuring program 4Excellence Next Generation.
  • 2013 SAS sold 80% of its holding in Wideröe.
  • 2014 SAS completed a SEK 3.5 bn issue of preference shares.
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