SAS can defend its long haul niche despite strong Nordic competition. Launches Stockholm-Miami

SAS' launch of a weekly Stockholm-Miami service on 27-Oct-2017 takes its US network to 12 routes. Nordic competitors such as Norwegian, Icelandair and WOW air have grabbed more headlines due to their rapid growth and innovative business models on routes to North America. However, SAS has been quietly getting on with fairly rapid growth of its own, operating 50% more seats to the US in 2017 than in 2013 (the year of Norwegian's long haul entry).

SAS' plans to open new narrowbody bases in London and Málaga demonstrate a willingness to adapt to being more cost efficient in the very cost conscious European market, which still dominates its capacity. Its planned launch of these bases at the end of Oct-2017 is understood to have been postponed until Dec-2017 due to delays with Airbus orders, although it has reached agreement over union representation for its London pilots. It is still rare for European legacy airlines to establish bases outside their home market. SAS can thank Norwegian for leading the way with this idea.

This report focuses on SAS' long haul network (which also includes four Asian routes), where it is number one on every route. SAS appears to have a defensible niche in its intercontinental markets.

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