SAS China: Committing To Sustainable Development

Hans W DyhrfortEvery airline company is making adjustments to cut costs and reduce losses. SAS Scandinavian Airlines is actively pushing forward a core business strategy to thoroughly carry out its Northern European style of operation. Hans W. Dyhrfort, general manager of SAS Greater China, introduced the core value of the new SAS strategy to China Hospitality News.

Dyhrfort said that the whole aviation industry affected by the financial crisis, and SAS is no exception. He stated that with the approval of its board of directors, SAS will implement a "Core SAS" strategy to improve its core competitiveness and meet the sharply decreasing market demand and increasing operating costs.

According to Dyhrfort, SAS has withdrawn investment from affiliated companies whose business is of little importance to SAS. For example, it has transferred its stake in Air Baltic and Spainish Airlines. In addition, SAS Group has successfully restructured its four affiliate companies — SAS Sweden, SAS Denmark, SAS Norway, and SAS International — and combined them into one. Furthermore, SAS has cut some non-profitable routes and routes that have fewer business clients to make its flights mainly cover business cities. To this end, SAS has decided to reduce its fleet by 12 aircraft on its short-haul routes and decreased the number of planes on long-haul routes from 11 to nine. However SAS will still maintain its daily flight between Beijing and Copenhagen. When referring to the company's slogan of "maximize your travel quality with the least time" of this year, Dyhrfort said that SAS has launched online and mobile phone SMS check-in services, and it has also opened a self-help counter service at Beijing Capital International Airport for the convenience of passengers.

According to Dyhrfort, "92% of SAS's income comes from 61% of its main routes." Therefore, the more streamlined "Core SAS" strategy will feature a focus on the North Europe market and business clients. Based on an analysis of business travelers, SAS has launched business class, super-value economy class, and economy class cabins. Of these the super-value economy class cabinet is a new choice for people who seek for a balance between comfort and cost during their trip with its high efficiency, flexibility, and comfort. Passengers of this class can enjoy a range of benefits offered in business class cabins at a much lower.

Regarding airfares, in consideration of business travelers' demand for comfort and flexibility, SAS has launched a new air ticket combination so that business travelers can choose from various ticket options in business class, super value economy class and economy class cabins. Currently the air tickets available are Fully Flexible, Flexible, and Fixed. These air tickets can be matched with different classes to offer great flexibility to passengers. Besides, SAS will continue to promote its "one fare" this year. The company's airfare for flights between Beijing and Northern European countries all include the flight transit fee between Beijing and any of 32 Chinese cities including Changchun, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, and Dalian.

Environment has been a key issue addressed by the northern European countries. In SAS's new strategy, environmental protection still remains a focus. Dyhrfort stated that, despite the current economic depression, SAS will continue to devote time, energy and funds to fulfilling its environment commitments. He said that SAS will continue its fuel saving plan this year and this effort is mainly demonstrated in five aspects: adopting a better air transportation management system; implementing green landing; using bio-fuel; carrying out carbon dioxide emission offsets and advocating environmental protection among passengers who are concerned with the environment; increasing the company's employees' awareness of the environment and attaching importance to the environment issues. It is said that SAS has long been paying for offsetting the carbon dioxide yielded during its staff's business trips. According to Dyhrfort, SAS has paid to offset the carbon dioxide for its staff who are to attend the four discussion meetings of the Climate Change Conference to be held in Denmark before the end of this year.