Scandinavian Airlines SAS

Scandinavian Airlines SAS to leave Star Alliance and join SkyTeam

To the point Scandinavian Airlines, which has been part of Star Alliance for over 25 years, will join SkyTeam in September 2024.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will no longer be a member of Star Alliance after August 31, 2024, and will therefore join SkyTeam from September 1, 2024. This announcement follows Air-France KLM’s intention to buy the airline announced last October.

What does this mean?

SAS will leave Star Alliance to join SkyTeam on September 1, 2024, the alliance of which Air France is a founding member. The transaction is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2024, and Scandinavian Airlines will continue to operate as usual during its implementation. It is also planned that SAS will eventually join the transatlantic joint venture between Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic.

As a result, Star Alliance members Aeroplan and Air Canada will no longer be able to offer flight bookings on SAS. Instead, Flying Blue, Air France-KLM’s frequent flyer program, will take over.

Star Alliance has assured that 17 of its partner airlines will continue to offer direct flights to Scandinavia, including: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, TAP Air Portugal, Thai, Turkish Airlines, and United.

Acquisition of SAS by the Air France-KLM Group

On October 3, 2023, the SAS Board of Directors announced the selection of the Air France-KLM Group as the winning candidate, collectively with Castlelake, L.P. (on behalf of certain funds and affiliates) and Lindt Invest ApS following Scandinavian Airlines’ financing solicitation process.

Air France-KLM would thus obtain a maximum of 19.9% non-controlling stake of SAS’s share capital. This commercial agreement has not yet been finalized, as it will need to be approved by shareholders and regulatory authorities such as the European Commission. The transaction represents an investment of US$144.5 million by Air France-KLM.

Bottom Line

Scandinavian Airlines represents Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Founded in 1946, it was one of the founding members of Star Alliance over 25 years ago. Considering the flights it operates in these countries, as well as internationally to Asia, Europe and North America, this transition definitely represents a loss for Star Alliance, to the benefit of SkyTeam, which will be able to increase its connectivity to Northern Europe with SAS. For its part, Star Alliance assures that the customer experience will be prioritized for previously booked flights during this transition, and advises frequent flyer program members to refer to their programs for more information on changes in the redemption of points or miles.

It’s not uncommon for airlines to enter into commercial agreements of this kind with others; we saw it here with the conclusion of WestJet’s acquisition of Sunwing. In Europe, the Lufthansa group recently signed an agreement to acquire 41% ofITA Airways. TAP Air Portugal, a Star Alliance member and Aeroplan partner, was also recently put up for sale by the Portuguese government. The Lufthansa and Air France-KLM groups have both expressed an interest in TAP, so we’ll keep an eye on this.

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Travelling is a way of life for Marie-Ève, who spends almost six months a year abroad. She's always looking for waves to surf, great coffee and the best strategies to travel longer. You'll probably find her in a coworking space with other digital nomads, or by the sea watching the sunsets.

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