SAS, the mainline carrier whose principal owners include the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish governments, is setting up a new Irish subsidiary to compete with Norwegian Air Shuttle on routes from bases in London and Spain.
With a combination of problems (low-cost competition) and opportunity (a still-growing leisure market in Europe and demand for trans-Atlantic flights), SAS is going on the offensive. It will establish its Irish company with a new Air Operator Certificate this year. That will increase its access to the European market; the Scandinavian countries have close ties to the EU but are not members.
For now, the new airline's flights will mainly compete in the European market, but the move also provides links to competitive markets for North America flights, a strategy already followed by Norwegian.