SAS celebrates 70 years in the sky


2016 08 01 - SAS 70 - 01

Today SAS celebrates 70 years as pioneers in the sky. The airline was founded on August 1st 1946. The first flight, Stockholm to New York, took place on September 17th the same year.

August 1, 1946 was the starting point for Scandinavia’s preferred airline through the merger of the Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish international airline operations. On September 17 of the same year, 28 specially invited guests gathered for the inaugural flight with SAS’ new DC-4 “Dan Viking” from Stockholm to New York. The journey took 25 hours with intermediate landings in Copenhagen, Prestwick in Scotland and Gander on Newfoundland. The true history of SAS had begun.

2016 08 01 - SAS 70 - 02
Flight attendant Margaretha Pettersson’s summer uniform, designed by Carven in 1967.

“The anniversary marks SAS’s position as Scandinavia’s preferred airline, focusing on making life easy for travelers to, from, and within Scandinavia. I am grateful to each and every passenger and employee that has contributed to SAS’ 70 year long history and our future to come. We’ve been part of seventy years of unique travel stories, and there are many more to come“, says Rickard Gustafson, CEO and Group President, SAS.

Pioneers in the sky – then, now and in the future

Through the decades, SAS has launched the world’s first around-the-world service, in-flight entertainment system, tourist class and sleeper seats. SAS was the first airline to offer separate check-in and lounges, and we hired the first female commercial pilot. SAS was also first to implement green approaches, saving aircraft fuel and reducing emissions. These historic examples have paved the way to where we stand today, focusing on making life easier for Scandinavia’s frequent travelers.

A SAS flight crew poses in front of Douglas DC-8-33 Folke Viking at Long Beach airport in 1965, prior to the delivery flight.

“We want to make life easier for frequent travelers to, from, and within Scandinavia, and we are continuously working on innovation and development to ensure that our customers have a seamless journey, with smart, digital solutions. If we continue to show our frequent travelers that we do actually make life easier, SAS will still be vital in the future for those of us who live, work, and travel in this part of the world.” says Rickard Gustafson.

New and smart digital solutions
SAS is currently investing in new innovations and smart digital solutions to make travel an easier, faster and more personal experience. Making life easier involves features like upgraded SAS Lounges, new SAS Café Lounges as well as Fast Track. SAS loyalty & frequent flyer program, EuroBonus, was founded in 1992 and now has more than 4.5 million members. EuroBonus  members can accumulate points on flights, hotel stays, car rentals and even on everyday purchases. The points can be redeemed at either SAS or our many partners.

SAS DC-10-30, Dag Viking SE-DFD, on the ground, at the airport. 1980s
SAS Douglas DC-10-30 Dag Viking SE-DFD on the ground in the 1980’s.

SAS Labs is developing some radical new ideas and innovations for the future of travel; from airplane boarding passes contained under your skin to smart and personalized luggage tags. This autumn, all of our cabin crew will be equipped with Cabin Crew Devices. These iPad Minis will make their work easier, as well as giving them the opportunity to give SAS travelers even better service. The devices will make it possible to check such things as the status of luggage transfers, flight connections and EuroBonus membership information.

Sustainability and expansion
SAS environmental vision is to be a part of long-term sustainable society. We believe that it should be possible to fly with no fossil fuel CO2 emissions by 2050. Some of  SAS main focus areas are biofuel, fuel efficiency measurements, green flights, and a new more fuel-efficient fleet.

A SAS Boeing 737 on the ground.

During the last few years SAS has invested in the largest intercontinental expansion in the company’s history to and from USA and Asia. All with SAS new upgraded cabin. In the past twelve months SAS has opened new direct routes from Scandinavia to cities such as Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Boston and will be opening a direct route from both Copenhagen and Oslo to Miami in September. September is also the month SAS will celebrate the first flight between Scandinavia and the US.

See highlights of SAS 70 years in the sky so far on:

1 August 2016

Photos: copyright © Scandinavian Airlines

Top photo: The very first SAS stewardesses of 1946 and 1947 pose at Bromma Airport in Stockholm with Douglas DC-3, Ankan SE-BBR in the background.