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Photo: SAS

SAS drops duty-free sales to cut weight

In an effort to reduce overall weight and improve fuel efficiency, SAS has announced that it will discontinue the sale of tax-free items on all of its flights by autumn.

SAS has announced that starting from this autumn, tax-free sales will cease on its flights with the goal of improving sustainable travel. This will reduce the overall weight of its aircraft, which in turn will save fuel and cut emissions.

The airline says its efforts to improve the sustainability of its operations are split into two areas and involve a series of initiatives in each. The first is improved fuel efficiency, along with alternative fuels, which this initiative tackles.

The second is innovation in sustainable products and services. The company claims that a number of changes will be introduced as part of these efforts on SAS flights over the coming months.

Examples of additional initiatives include new, fuel-efficient aircraft with reduced emissions, a partnership with Airbus to develop electric and hybrid aircraft and improving access to high-quality biofuel.

The carrier says that although duty-free sales have long been a popular service onboard flights for those that use them, passengers’ purchasing habits have changed and sustainability has become more important. Instead, it says it will develop solutions to offer passengers “more modern ways” of buying and receiving goods in connection with their journey.

“SAS is aiming to cut emissions by at least 25% by 2030. Every step on the way to sustainable travel is important. Every initiative to reduce weight and thereby cut fuel consumption helps,” says Karl Sandlund, EVP Commercial.

Growing trend
The airline is not the first to exit the inflight duty-free market. KLM announced in March that from July it would no longer be offering tax-free items for sale on its European flights. Later, in January 2020, it will also suspend sales on intercontinental flights. American Airlines stopped inflight sales in 2015, followed by Qantas, Delta and United.

At the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes last October, the intelligence provider NPD Travel Retail revealed that out of 3,068 passengers interviewed on various flights, only 33% browsed the inflight catalogue and just 12% bought items.

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