SAS is one of the first five airlines that were founding members of Star Alliance, along with Lufthansa, United Airlines, Thai Airways and Air Canada. However now, SAS is very likely to leave and join SkyTeam, a competing association. With this move, Star Alliance will lose a local carrier in 3 Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, and Norway).
This twist is the result SAS reaching an important step in the “chapter 11″ process it is leading in the United States of America. SAS has chosen a consortium that will invest money and put the airline back on its feet. The consortium that was selected consists of companies/funds: Castlelake, Air France – KLM, Lind Invest and Denmark and would invest USD 1.175 billion. As part of this transaction, SAS is expected to eventually join the SkyTeam airline association, in which Air France – KLM is one of the founders, and will leave the Star Alliance association.
SAS will continue to operate as normal and carry passengers throughout this process of implementing the transaction. With the completion of the transaction and before the possible entry into SkyTeam, the airline will be more closely connected with the airlines from the Air France – KLM group.
Anko van der Werff, President and CEO of SAS, said: “This transaction is a key step in our SAS FORWARD plan, and shows how our new investors believe in SAS and our potential in the times ahead. Furthermore, our approach to SkyTeam determines the path towards the future of the company.”
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, says: “This is an important day for SAS and for Air France-KLM. We are pleased to be part of the winning bidding consortium selected by the board of SAS. Air France-KLM looks forward to establishing strong commercial ties with SAS. With its well-established position in Scandinavia and strong brand, SAS offers tremendous potential to Air France-KLM. This cooperation will allow Air France-KLM to enhance its position in the Nordics and improve connectivity for Scandinavian and European travellers.”