Travel And Tour World – What initiatives has SAS taken to make itself more sustainable? What has driven SAS Airlines’ deep focus and concern for sustainability in the aviation sector?
Freja Annamatz: Making travel more sustainable is vital for the airline industry and SAS is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2030. This will mainly be done through the modernization of the fleet and increased use of biofuel. Also, we just announced that SAS and Airbus signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding for hybrid and electric aircraft eco-system and infrastructure requirements research. This is a unique cooperation to establish the requirements for the next generation of sustainable aircraft and to gain an understanding of the introduction of hybrid-electric aircraft for large-scale commercial use.
Travel And Tour World: SAS has been ‘CO2 offsetting all Youth Tickets’. What is it exactly and how does it work?
Freja Annamatz:This is part of an ambitious program by SAS to reduce climate changing emissions that also includes more energy efficient aircraft and the increased use of biofuels. SAS offsets all youth tickets and its own business travel within the company.
Now, by including carbon offset for its EuroBonus program members since February 2019, 40 percent of SAS’ passenger-related carbon dioxide emissions will be offset. EuroBonus is the most popular loyalty travel and experiences program in Scandinavia with 5.6 million members.
We have offered our customers carbon offsetting options since 2005. Our partner in this is Natural Capital Partner who has extensive experience working with projects involving carbon dioxide reductions and sustainable development, like wind energy projects in Asia.
Travel And Tour World: What are the plans for fleet expansion? Are these helping in reduction of carbon footprints?
Freja Annamatz: The environmental impact is a key issue for the airline industry and SAS is working intensively to renew and upgrade its fleet to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. This means replacing the existing fleet with more fuel-efficient aircrafts, thus lowering the carbon footprint.
Travel And Tour World – Technology in aviation sector is evolving. AI, robot bag drops, self kiosks, baggage tracking system, Wi-Fi, payment apps, NDC and more. What initiatives is SAS taking in the technology front?
Freja Annamatz: After an exciting product launch announcement at the 2019 South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, SAS introduced the latest travel innovations from SAS Labs—a team of researchers and developers pushing the boundaries of innovation in pursuit of making life easier for the global traveler of the future. Recent project highlights include but are not limited to:
Turi a virtual travel assistant via Facebook Messenger or Skype
30000 ft app augmented reality (AR) experience offering 360-degree views of flight routes
SAS Labs app allowing EuroBonus members to test unique ideas, explore new technological trends, and evaluate the impact of new technology
The technological innovations and the possibilities of AI and big data impact all industries, including the aviation industry. We are looking forward to seeing how these will further improve everything from operations to customer experience.
Travel And Tour World – What is the expansion plans in terms of routes, markets and the number of passengers for 2019?
Freja Annamatz: SAS had a record-breaking number of passengers of more than 30 million onboard in 2018. The airline is constantly developing its network in order to optimize the connectivity to, from and within Scandinavia. Throughout 2019, we are adding three new A321 aircraft, which is a narrow-body type but with a flying range for long-haul destinations, for example to North America.
Travel And Tour World – What are the revenue targets for the year and will it be impacted by the pilots’ strike in April-May 2019?
Freja Annamatz: We understand that frustration of all those customers that were affected by the strike and would like to apologize for any inconveniences.
We recently released a report on the financial quarter and our CEO Rickard Gustafson had the following to share:
“The pilot strike at the end of the second quarter added to the challenges already faced by SAS from a competitive market, increasing jet fuel price and a weakening Swedish krona. In addition, we see decreased demand for domestic travel especially in Sweden. These factors highlight the importance of continued strong focus on improving our efficiency, flexibility and sustainability efforts.
The strike between 26 April and 2 May resulted in some 4,000 canceled flights affecting more than 370,000 passengers. I apologize to all of our customers affected by the traffic disruptions during this extraordinary event. The total impact on income before tax of the strike is estimated at MSEK 650, of which MSEK 430 relate to the last five days of the second quarter.”