SAS Scandinavian will bid farewell to its fleet Boeing 737 during an upcoming special flight. In addition, two groups of investors, including the American private equity group Apollo Global Management, are bidding for the Scandinavian airline, the Norwegian daily Aftenposten reported Friday, citing anonymous sources.
It was not immediately clear who led the second group of investors, the newspaper added. The largest Scandinavian carrier has filed an application for bankruptcy in the United States at mid-2022 after years of battling high costs coupled with low customer demand brought on by the pandemic. Sources told Reuters in early May that Apollo hoped to take a majority stake in the Nordic airline.
The Scandinavian group, which placed itself under protection against creditors last July (following the strike of a thousand pilots in Sweden, Norway and Denmark which forced it to cancel one flight out of two), then announced having reached an agreement for USD 700 million (approximately SEK 7.0 billion) with funds managed by Apollo. Who has already taken control of the air cargo giant Atlas Air, and has invested in Mexican and American carriers.
This possible acquisition of a majority stake in a European carrier would violate European Union rules which prohibit a stake of more than 50% in one of its carriers from being held by a non-EU member country. But like a “substantial percentage” of Apollo’s capital comes fromEuropean investors, the investment fund would hope to obtain the green light. SAS had stated that any fundraising offer should include theDanish state, which currently holds a stake of 22%.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines is also approaching the end of the era of Boeing 737 as part of efforts to cost reduction and optimization of its fleet. It thus fulfills the schedule it set for itself in April 2018, when it announced that it would gradually eliminate their 67 Boeing 737 by the end of 2023 and would replace them with planes Airbus. Thus, on November 19, 2023, the last Boeing 737 (LN-RRB) of SAS, known as Dag Viking, will embark on its last commercial flight, between Stockholm and its hometown from Oslounder the appropriate flight number SK737.
SAS currently operates a fleet of 94 aircraft, mainly narrow-body aircraft and regional jets for its extensive European network. While the Boeing 737 family has played an important role in the past, Airbus A320 now have priority. The fleet includes three Airbus A321s, 47 Airbus A320s, four Airbus A319s, 17 Mitsubishi CRJ-900s, seven ATR 72s, seven Airbus A330s, four Airbus A350s and, last but not least, five Boeing 737-700s. The five Boeings 737-700 remaining are among oldest in the fleete, with an average age of 18.9 years. Historically, SAS has operated a total of 116 Boeing 737 family aircraft. It had all versions, from the 737-400 to the 737-800. In recent years, their numbers have continued to decline. The 737-600s were therefore scrapped. Boeing 737-800s were sold or converted into cargo planes. The current American president Joe Biden used a former SAS Boeing 737-500 as a plane for his election campaign.