Axel Blom appointed Managing Director of SAS Ground Services Thailand

SAS Ground Services (Thailand) Ltd. is a wholly owned company in the SAS Group to be established in 2005 incorporating SAS’s Central Departure Control Centre in Bangkok, SAS EuroBonus Retro-Registration Department and SAS’s activities at Bangkok International Airport. The aim of the new company is to develop cost effective turnkey solutions by building a unit for innovation and shared services in Thailand. The company is targeting customers worldwide, both within and outside the SAS Group.
     SAS opened its Global Central Departure Control Centre in Bangkok in March 2002.
     25 Thai staff were hired to man the sophisticated computerised centre which was given the responsibility for clearing the departures of roughly 160 daily flights for Scandinavian Airlines worldwide. The Departure Control Centres were relocated to Bangkok from Helsinki, London and New York as part of a cost-saving exercise, and SAS was the first airline to have such a centre in Thailand. The centre operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is located at SAS’s Bangkok office in Glas Haus on Sukhumvit Road. Since the opening, the number of flights handled has risen steadily and the staff number has grown to close to 50. The centre now offers load control and related services to Scandinavian Airlines, as well as selected flights for Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Blue1 and Wideroe. In addition, Virgin Atlantic Airways awarded SAS the contract to perform load control services on all its flights worldwide in October last year. The total production now covers 78,000 flights per year.
     The Central Departure Control Centre is responsible for co-ordination of passenger, baggage, cargo and fuel loads as well as calculating weight and balance at the time of departure. The figures are fed into computers from any point in the world and then checked at the CDC Centre to see if everything is in order to ensure a safe flight. Later the final loadsheet is dispatched electronically by the CDC Centre via an ACARS link directly to a printer in the cockpit of the applicable aircraft. Here the Commander signs the document using his electronic signature and the flight is released. Blom stated that “Ensuring a correct weight and balance is a vital and very important function of the flight, contributing to SAS’ primary goals: Safety, Punctuality and Service.” He added, “The task of performing remote load control of flights has not previously been done on such a scale in Thailand.
     In addition to departure control, the company will be responsible for retro-registration of activities for SAS EuroBonus, SAS’s individual reward programme for loyal customers. The Retro-Registration Department is currently a section of the corporate headquarters function of SAS EuroBonus, relocated to Thailand in 2003 as part of SAS’s Turnaround Programme. It employs 16 highly skilled staff members handling complex errands including frequent flyer fraud prevention.
     Finally, the company will also include SAS’s activities at Bangkok International Airport where 15 staff are employed to supervise handling of Scandinavian Airlines’ flights to and from Bangkok.
     Blom commented that the establishment of SAS Ground Services (Thailand) Ltd. gives the company an alternative grip to reduce costs in troubled times. It also shows that SAS is a truly global company and that the company is looking at where in the world it can do business in the most efficient way.
     Axel Blom said that he was proud that SAS has chosen Thailand to locate the company. Thailand has a lot to offer in terms of competent and well-educated labour force. This project should be seen as technology transfer, and it is very much in line with the wishes of the Thai Government to promote Thailand as a technological centre in Asia. The project creates new and highly skilled job-opportunities for Thai people.”
     In addition to running SAS Ground Services (Thailand), Blom will have the overall responsibility for SAS Ground Services at all airports in the Asia Pacific Region. He will also on behalf of Scandinavian Airlines, retain the responsibility for further development of the strategic co-operation with Thai Airways International.
     Blom, a Norwegian, is 48 years old and holds a Master Degree in Business Administration from University of Leicester, UK. He has broad experience of Asian culture and business environment, having been Director and General Manager for Scandinavian Airlines for Thailand and the surrounding countries for the last fourteen years. In addition to his work for Scandinavian Airlines, Blom has been active in the industry and today is the President of Board of Airlines Representatives Business Association in Thailand. In addition he sits on the board of several national Chambers of Commerce in Thailand.
     For more information regarding SAS Ground Services visit www.sasground.com. More information about Scandinavian Airlines can be found on www.flysas.com

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