SAS threatens to move long-haul routes

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Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is now claiming that Norway’s new airline seat tax may prompt it to move long-distance routes from Oslo to either Copenhagen or Stockholm. “There’s a limit to what we can pay,” its chief executive told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Monday.

SAS’ earlier threats to cut routes if the controversial tax was imposed proved empty, though, given its greatly expanded winter flight schedule from Oslo. The tax, aimed at discouraging passengers from flying, took effect on June 1 but SAS is still promoting flights that newspaper Aftenposten recently reported will add thousands of new seats this winter.

SAS has never run many non-stop long-haul flights from Oslo and currently only has its daily departure to New York, with all others operating from the other Scandinavina capitals. SAS does plan to introduce a route from Oslo to Miami this fall,but SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson claimed the airline was not evaluating whether it might be moved, to avoid the tax.

Sweden, however, is also considering imposing an airline seat tax like Norway did, so there would be little difference if the tax starts being collected both places. Norwegian passengers would also still need to take connecting flights to Copenhagen or Stockholm, on which the tax would also be imposed.

Gustafson told DN that SAS’ flight destinations remain “first and foremost” subject to market demand. SAS has increased its own long-distance capacity in addition to continuing to partner with other Star Alliance carriers, especially Lufthansa. SAS has recently added flights from Scandinavia to Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, for example, just not from Oslo.

newsinenglish.no staff