SAS is implementing extensive simplifications to the aircraft fleet as part of investments in our future. Since the end of 2013, the SAS in-service aircraft fleet has consisted solely of Next Generation aircraft – with greater comfort and higher fuel efficiency. SAS is also investing in the organization’s leadership by introducing a new leadership and employee model linked to the Lean efforts.
Streamlining and renewing the aircraft fleet – Next Generation
Since 2012, SAS has completed extensive changes to the aircraft fleet with the aim of rejuvenating, upgrading and modernizing it. This took the form of three main approaches:
- Fleet streamlining
In the 2013/2014 fiscal year, SAS phased in one long-haul aircraft and five medium-haul aircraft with modern cabins, in parallel with phasing out the last two Boeing 737 Classics. SAS also returned 11 MD-80s and seven Boeing 737 Classics that were taken out of service in the 2013 calendar year. With the phasing out of the MD-80 fleet and Boeing 737 Classics, SAS achieved an in-service aircraft fleet comprising only Next Generation aircraft in 2013/2014. SAS now has only one type of medium-haul aircraft per base, which provides a more stable and more efficient operational and technical platform. In addition, SAS plans to further streamline regional aircraft operations by phasing out Boeing 717s in 2015. SAS intends to transfer the CRJ900s to Cimber.
- Modernizing the long and medium-haul fleets
In addition, SAS has placed orders for four Airbus A330Es and eight Airbus A350s with delivery from 2015 to 2021, as well as 30 Airbus A320neo with delivery from 2016 to 2019. The first long-haul aircraft are expected to be in-service in autumn 2015. The introduction of long and medium-haul aircraft means SAS will be able to offer frequent travelers a world-class customer experience in parallel with lowering fuel and maintenance costs.
- Conversion of the existing fleet’s cabins
In 2013/2014, the seats of eight medium-haul aircraft were upgraded. In future fiscal years, new seats will be installed in a further 11 medium haul aircraft in parallel with a major upgrade of the seats, in-flight entertainment and cabins of seven long-haul aircraft. The first long-haul aircraft with the completely new interior is expected to be in operation at the start of 2015.
Rejuvenated intercontinental fleet provides the flexibility to expand
SAS is modernizing its medium and long-haul fleets with deliveries from 2015 to 2021, which will give SAS the flexibility to increase the numerical strength of the long-haul fleet. SAS is evaluating an expansion of the intercontinental aircraft fleet and a number of possible new destinations in conjunction with phasing in the Airbus A330E.
SAS is investing in new cabin interiors for all long-haul aircraft with completely new seats for all classes. The aim has been to create world-class seats. Among other things, this means that the seats must be functional, offer privacy and have plenty of room for personal effects. All classes will receive an entirely new entertainment system and on-board wireless internet. The seats in SAS Plus will be given a new color scheme and be equipped with an HD screen twice the size of current screens. Unlike previously, the table is stowed under the armrest instead of in the back of the seat in front. Each seat has its own electricity and USB sockets. Seats for travelers in SAS Go will have enhanced ergonomics and improved sitting and sleeping comfort. The seat has a special function that raises the cushion at the front when the seat is reclined, thereby contributing to an improved sleeping position. Furthermore, each pair of seats is equipped with one electricity and one USB socket.
Travelers in SAS Business can recline their seats to a fully horizontal position, like a bed. In the shortest versions, the length is 196 cm. SAS has entered a partnership with the premium Swedish bedding manufacturer Hästens for bed linen and blankets to use when sleeping. The partnership strengthens the Scandinavian profile of SAS. Another change is that the current six-seat wide 2-2-2 configuration will be changed to a four-seat wide 1-2-1 configuration. This means one seat by each window and two in the middle. Accordingly, all passengers have aisle access without needing to climb over other passengers. Business class is equipped with 15-inch HD screens in front of the seats and two pouches beside for reading matter. The first aircraft with the new seats will enter service in February 2015. Thereafter, the plan is to roll out one new aircraft each month until the new seats are installed on all long-haul aircraft.
Investments in increased digitalization
In 2014, SAS initiated work on a new digital platform. The aim is to make the experience as relevant and individually tailored as possible for each customer instead of delivering the same standardized digital experience to all customers. The aim is also to offer availability irrespective of channel and to enable new services and functions to be launched more rapidly in the market. SAS’s new platform will also offer improved solutions for companies and new types of partnerships as well as services that make travel easier. Business services entail, for example, that customers will be able to book business travel directly on the SAS website and manage simpler types of administrative tasks. SAS’s digital vision is that customers will have full capability to manage their travel digitally, from booking tickets to check-in and the registration of EuroBonus points. The first stage will be launched in 2015 and will include a new website and a new mobile platform.