SAS Adds Direct U.S. Flights to Target Hub-Averse Business Flier

SAS Group, the Nordic region’s largest airline, will add flights linking Scandinavia with Florida and southern California as it targets passengers keen to avoid connecting through one of Europe’s major hubs.

Services between the Swedish capital, where SAS is based, and Los Angeles are due to start next year, with the carrier also adding routes from Oslo and Copenhagen to Miami. That’s after it starts flying five times weekly between Stockholm and Hong Kong from Thursday using Airbus Group SE A330 aircraft.

“The product we will deliver is a consequence of our customer’s demand,” Chief Financial Officer Goeran Jansson said in a telephone interview. Demand for tickets on the Hong Kong route has been “really good,” he added. “We’re seeing a pick up of people flying on business.”

SAS has disposed of assets and cut jobs in an effort to return to profit and fend off low-cost operators like Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, which is expanding long-haul operations. Its main rivals remain network carriers like British Airways and Persian Gulf-based Emirates and Qatar Airways, Jansson said.

In the U.S., the tri-national carrier already serves New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco and Houston.

SAS said in a statement today that fiscal third-quarter profit for the three months ended July 31 jumped to 800 million Swedish kronor ($95 million) from 496 million a year earlier. The outlook for full-year earnings remains “firm,” the Stockholm-based airline said.

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