Asia remains a primary focus for SAS Scandinavian Airlines as the airline enjoys some of its strongest growth over the summer. According to Hakan Ollson, SAS General Manager for Southeast Asia, SAS routes reached on average 80% load factor during the summer season and the winter season looks already very promising.
“The winter season is Asia’s peak period as most Scandinavians will head for a beach holiday to Thailand and other destinations in Southeast Asia,” says Ollson.
Scandinavia is indeed one of Europe’s largest source markets in Southeast Asia, representing close to a million travellers per year to the region. Thailand welcomed 760,000 Scandinavian holiday-makers in 2007, Malaysia 113,617, Vietnam 62,000 and Indonesia around 60,000.
The airline is boosting its winter schedule by reinstating its route from Stockholm to Bangkok with three weekly frequencies, offering additional connections from and to the rest of Europe. “Compared to the summer, our capacity to Bangkok is growing by 25% from 6 to 8 weekly frequencies with a total of 4,240 seats compared to 3,180 seats in August. We also launch a new frequency to India with Delhi being served three times a week from Copenhagen”, adds Ollson.
SAS wants also to attract more Asians to fly on its routes and has launched a marketing campaign based on three themes: Scandinavian spirit, the environment and the high tech oriented airline.
“We want to offer the best service for our passengers and make heavy use of the latest technological innovation to improve our customers’ experience”, highlights Ollson. Among others, SAS offers check-in and booking on the web and through mobile phones. Passengers can also select their seat and check their luggage and print their boarding pass from their own computer. Environment is a major concern for SAS which has been looking for ways to cut fuel consumption for over a decade.
Green landings in Stockholm, Goteborg and in the near future in Norway, helps the airline to save up to 150 kg of fuel and 450 kg of CO² per flight.
“We are also studying of green landings in Asia and might have some important communication before the end of the year,” adds Ollson. SAS is committed to reduce its consumption by 6%to 7% by 2011. And finally, SAS will boost tourism to Scandinavia as it remains the region’s largest carrier with over 40 destinations in its network.
In parallel to SAS, competitor Finnair is also mounting its presence in Asia. The airline flies non-stop to 11 destinations with the recent addition of Seoul. The airline will however adapt its winter program.
Thailand will get a major boost with a second daily flight added over the winter to Bangkok with a total of 3,666 seats per week compared to 1,975 seats this summer. Change to a late evening departure time from Helsinki for the second daily flight will help to expand the number of connections to Europe to 40 cities. Connections to Australia via Bangkok will also improve thanks to the change.The airline will also fly non-stop twice a week to Phuket out of Helsinki.