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SAS celebrates 60 years

September 12, 2006 13:00

On Sunday, September 17, SAS, Scandinavian Airlines System, will celebrate its 60th anniversary as an airline. Sixty years ago, the airline undertook its first scheduled transatlantic flight, from Stockholm-Bromma to New York. Since then, SAS has written aviation history on several occasions.SAS was formed in 1946 through the merger of three Nordic airlines. The contract for a joint Scandinavian airline was signed in the early hours of August 1 and a short time later the first flight to New York was operated. The two American pilots who were on board the inaugural flight are now in Scandinavia to celebrate the anniversary at the ages of 86 and 82.

The transatlantic flight was followed by several occasions on which SAS was the pioneer:

·SAS was first in the world to have scheduled flights over the polar region, with the launch of the Copenhagen-Los Angeles route in 1954.
·Three years later, in 1957, SAS became the first airline with a flight route across the North Pole to Japan, which resulted in a time reduction from 52 to 32 hours.
·In 1959, SAS was ahead of all the others in deploying the French-built, twin-engine jet aircraft, the Caravelle, in scheduled operations. The maiden flight was between Copenhagen and Beirut.
·SAS was the first airline to introduce an electronic booking system for all of its services in Europe in 1965.
·SAS was an early adopter in permitting smoking on its routes, but also first to have a smoking ban (1986).
·SAS was first to encourage work on board, in the form of a writing desk, and subsequently became the first airline in the world to offer passengers wireless Internet connections on all of its intercontinental flights.

During the 60 years that have passed Scandinavian Airlines has launched routes to all of the world’s inhabited continents except Oceania.

The 60th anniversary on September 17 September will be celebrated in various ways at a number of airports throughout the SAS system. There will be celebrations at Arlanda and in Copenhagen on the departures to New York. The two pilots from the inaugural flight will take part in Stockholm. On Monday, September 18, passengers at Copenhagen’s terminal 3 will be treated to breakfast and, in Norway, passengers will be given cake on board the aircraft.
Scandinavian Airlines Danmark has also had a recently delivered Airbus A319 aircraft painted in the livery SAS used in the 1950s and 1960s.

For further information:
Hans Ollongren, SVP Corporate Com and Public Affairs, Tel. +46 8 797 1950
Kerstin Edenby-Stross, Director Information & Communication, Tel. +46 8 797 12 36

Photos from SAS’ history can be found on the SAS Group website:

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