An 11-th Airbus A340-300 will join SAS fleet for the Copenhagen-Shanghai route

Scandinavian Air System announced today it will begin operating non stop flights from Copenhagen to Shanghai starting March 1st 2012. The route will be flown five times a week with a leased 245 passengers Airbus 340-300 configured in a 3-class layout comprising Business, Economy Extra and Economy. The flight will operate as SK997 departing Copenhagen Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:25 pm and SK998 leaving Shanghai at 1:25 pm on Mondays, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The group is pursuing sustained growth after a very promising first quarter which saw an overall income rise from SEK -844,000 (-$133,922) last year to SEK -505,000 (-$80,140) (+40%). The period was also marked by a 6.2% surge in scheduled passenger traffic, underscoring the benefits of adding a new route to the growing Chinese market. The SAS Group management is also credited with decreasing overall operational expenses by 7.24% despite jet fuel costs escalating 21% to SEK 1.55 million ($245,900) for the same quarter.

Newly appointed CEO Rickard Gustafson since February 1st ,2011 is now overseeing the completion of a 5-point turn around plan initiated in February 2009. Under the plan, strong cost control measures and a rejuvenated fleet will also take anchor. With $150 million already set side for additional fuel expenses this year, the carrier is attempting to return to profitability by gaining market share on key segments. A new Oslo-New York route has been opened this year. Deeper codeshare agreements with other carrier such as ANA and Singapore Airlines will also allow permit the carrier to grow Asian market share by adding numerous, more convenient connections for travelers.

The new flight to Shanghai will leverage on SAS already existing flight connections to Europe, not only to Scandinavian countries but also to London, Munich, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna and the Baltic capitals. As well SAS relies on its Chinese partners Air China and Shanghai Airlines to offer additional connections from Shanghai to the rest domestic China and Asia.

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