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Posted by David Reed on 05/30/2020

Scandinavian Airlines

     In the 1920's, three Northern European countries each started their own airline- Denmark, Sweden and Norway. World War Two changed everything. During the war they began planning for life after, and agreed they needed to create one airline if they were to grow in the international market. Sweden ordered four DC-4's from Douglas in 1943, but had to wait until after the war for delivery. In 1945, using interned B-17's, Sweden started limited service to New York from Stockholm less than 60 days after VE Day. In July 1946 the three countries had ironed out their differences and agreed on the establishment of Scandinavian Airlines System, using the newly acquired DC-4's for their first Stockholm to New York flights. In 1948 these were replaced by pressurized DC-6's, and in 1954 the DC-6B was added, flying with one stop on a Transpolar route to Los Angeles. Meanwhile a mix of Saab Scania's, DC-3's, JU-52's (floatplanes taken from the retreating Nazi's), and a variety of other types were handling domestic flights. Los Angeles meant Hollywood, and many Hollywood stars used SAS to fly to Europe. People flocked at the chance of flying with a famous movie star and business boomed for SAS. In 1956 they replaced the oldest aircraft with 21 Convair Metropolitans and put the DC-7C into service, allowing one stop service to Los Angeles, and flights to Tokyo through Anchorage on Transpolar flights. Things got hectic. In 1959 they were the launch customer for the SUD Caravelle. In 1960 they got their first DC-8-33. In 1965 Douglas made the 50 series for them with enough range to finally reach Los Angeles non-stop. In 1967 the first of many DC-9's arrived, eventually replacing their entire domestic fleet. Also in 1967 came the stretched DC-8-62/63, which replaced the DC-8-33/55. When the 747 came out, SAS bought three but decided they were just too big for their routes and leased them out to other operators. They did however, love Douglas's new DC-10 idea. Fourteen were ordered.

    1980 was a bad year for SAS. Finances were in the red. Their reputation had suffered, with flight often late and customers often very unhappy. Enter Jan Carlzon. Jan took over as CEO in 1981 and immediately made sweeping changes. The 747's and A300's were sold, as were the DC8's. Moreover, SAS invested millions of dollars in programs for staff training and motivation, urging employees to “work smarter, not harder.” And finally, in the effort to bring about changes in management, most of the airline’s principal managers were replaced as a new organizational structure was introduced. The result was a return to profitability and the 1983 Airline of the Year award. Today, SAS operates a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, but will operate only the A320neo, A330 Expanded and A350 by 2023. Today they are looking at teaming with Sabena and Finnair; operate a line of top end hotels; and have an extensive air cargo network.


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AAL686Paul BEGLLKBOSDC10-108.150 ft/mPending
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