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Scandinavia to N America aviation: Norwegian's cuts strengthen SAS

Norwegian Air's decision to consolidate long haul operations in Scandinavia on Norway will alter the Scandinavia-North America landscape in summer 2020. Norwegian has ended its North American services from Denmark and Sweden and will cut summer 2020 capacity across the Atlantic from Norway by 16%.

The biggest winner is SAS, which operates from all three countries and whose North America capacity will be up by 6% this summer. SAS' Scandinavia-North America seat share will be back to 70% – its level before Norwegian entered in 2013.

From Denmark, SAS is growing North Atlantic capacity by a quarter this summer as part of a strategy to tighten its focus on its principal hub at Copenhagen. It is cutting capacity by 30% from Sweden and by 3% from Norway this summer.

After five years of strong growth, led by Norwegian and also taken up by SAS, the Scandinavia-North America market has been falling since its 2017 peak. However, SAS' growth this summer and a new Copenhagen-Montreal route by Air Transat signify further potential. The only other operators between Scandinavia and North America are Air Canada, Delta and United, whose collective seat share has fallen since Norwegian's entry.

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