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SAS takes different tack to trans-Atlantic competition


SAS, the other big airline in Norwegian's home territory, is ramping up to grab a bigger share of the trans-Atlantic market, but not by competing with the low-cost low-fare discounters.

Instead, SAS believes it can make profitable inroads in the market, especially to the U.S., by emphasizing itself as a full-service carrier and aiming its marketing at frequent business travelers, as well as ramping up the business-class product on its new A330s.

SAS exec Elvind Roald told a meeting of airline employees that the airline is well aware of the growing low-cost competition, and said “For us, it’s about how do we tackle that type of competition. We try to position our airline in another type of segment.”

He said SAS is trying to position itself is as the top choice for frequent fliers from Scandinavia; those who fly at least five times a year or more" and pointed out that “It’s a very, very small group that accounts for a huge part of the spending...So we decided to go after that population.”

Other mainline carriers have taken a different tack; British Airways, for example, has just created a new brand, Level, to compete directly for the low-price market.

SAS is also launching more routes to the U.S., and now serves 7 U.S. cities. But while it is creating bases in Spain and the UK, where locally-hired employees are less expensive than at home, it's not planning to use those for trans-Atlantic flights; it still will launch its long-distance flights from Scandinavia.

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