Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is expanding its network to North America by launching six-times-weekly, non-stop service on a year-round basis between Copenhagen and San Francisco on Monday, April 8, 2013.
Additionally, from a week earlier, on Monday, April 1, 2013, Scandinavian Airlines is adding another three flights a week on its existing Newark-Copenhagen route, to offer a late-evening departure from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). The late flight will be operated on a year-round basis, according to an SAS official.
SAS has operated this flight for four separate periods in the past: once from 1996 until just after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011; again from 2002 until the end of 2003; again in the summer of 2004; and again in the summer of 2007.
According to the SAS official, ever since SAS last suspended “the late flight”, as the late-evening Newark-Copenhagen flight was popularly known to travelers, customers have asked the airline to resume operating the service.
The round-trip – geared very much towards the corporate traveler, since the schedule offers businesspeople a full business day in both Copenhagen and the New York area before departure – was always the last flight of the day from Newark to Europe and provided extensive down-line connecting opportunities at Copenhagen for destinations to the east.
Scandinavian Airlines has not yet confirmed which aircraft types it will use to operate the new round-trips from Copenhagen to San Francisco and to Newark.
However, the carrier – whose long-haul fleet currently includes four Airbus A330-300 and seven A340-300 widebodies – will have to use at least two Airbus A340-300 jets to operate the new Copenhagen-San Francisco schedule. It will also have to use a significant part of the weekly utilization of one A330-300 or A340-300 to operate the additional Copenhagen-Newark late-day service.
The SAS official confirms that for the short term the airline will make the necessary aircraft available by adjusting some service frequencies and timings throughout the rest of its long-haul schedule. Scandinavian Airlines will announce these frequency changes in August, according to the official.
North America is an important and growing market for SAS, according to the carrier, which says a large number of international and Scandinavian companies have expressed a strong desire for a direct service between the U.S. West Coast and Scandinavia.
“SAS is always looking to serve markets where there is high demand from Nordic travelers traveling from, to and within the Nordic region,” says Rickard Gustafson, CEO of SAS Group. “We see a favorable market situation in North America and a particularly strong demand in the growth area of San Francisco and Northern California.”
Adds Gustafson: “The new route will benefit business and leisure travelers, Scandinavian imports and exports and has been highly sought after by the Scandinavian business community.”
“We are excited that Scandinavian Airlines will launch the first ever non-stop service connecting SFO and the Bay Area to Copenhagen, Scandinavia, The Baltic, and beyond,” says John Martin, director of San Francisco International Airport. “Our European traffic continues to grow and the addition of SAS’ service to Copenhagen will give our customers more choice and greater convenience.”
Scandinavian Airlines has announced plans for San Francisco service in the past, but the first time the carrier announced the route, the airline’s planned service did not actually happen.
In 2006, SAS announced publicly (well in advance of a planned 2007 start-up date) that it would launch Copenhagen-San Francisco service, but was unable to launch the route as planned.
Its new route to San Francisco will not represent the first time SAS has served a destination on the U.S. West Coast. Scandinavian Airlines once operated to Los Angeles from Copenhagen, and also served Seattle from Copenhagen until 2009.
According to SAS, its main hub at Copenhagen Airport offers efficient transfers to an extensive SAS and SAS-partner route network in Scandinavia, Finland, Russia, the countries lining the southern part of the Baltic Sea, Poland and Germany.
SAS says it will be the only airline to fly nonstop between San Francisco and Copenhagen and it is expecting approximately 125,000 passengers per year on the route.
The carrier’s schedule on the Copenhagen-San Francisco route calls for its flight to depart Copenhagen Airport (CPH) at 12:25 p.m. every day except Tuesdays, landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 2:24 p.m. the same day, local time, after an 11-hour flight.
In the other direction, Scandinavian Airlines’ flight will leave SFO every day except Tuesdays at 5:35 p.m., touching down at CPH at 1:15 p.m. the next day, local time, after an 11 hours 20 minutes flight.
According to SAS, these departure times provide the best transfer opportunities at CPH to other destinations in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.
Meanwhile, SAS’ new late-evening Copenhagen service from Newark will leave EWR at 11:30 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and reach CPH the following day at 1:15 p.m. local time. It will again be the last flight departure from Newark to Europe, according to SAS.
In the other direction, the flight will depart CPH on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at 6:25 p.m. and arrive at EWR at 8:50 p.m. the same day, local time.
“A large number of our passengers have expressed a strong desire for a late-evening departure from Newark to Copenhagen,” says Gustafson. “By popular demand, SAS is pleased to bring back this late-evening flight with 3 weekly frequencies from Newark to Copenhagen.”
Currently, SAS operates non-stop service from Newark (which serves the New York metropolitan area) to Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm; from Chicago to Copenhagen and Stockholm; and from Washington, D.C. to Copenhagen. From its hubs at Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, SAS serves cities throughout Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the rest of Europe.
On its non-stop transatlantic flights, SAS operates Airbus A330-300 and A340-300 widebodies, featuring audio and video entertainment at every seat and the services offering EuroBonus frequent flyer points. For the past 3 years, SAS has been ranked Europe’s most punctual airline by flightstats.com.
To book travel on these flights, visit www.flysas.com/us.