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SAS moves Hong Kong from Stockholm to Copenhagen

SAS says it is moving its route to Hong Kong to the Danish capital, at the expense of Stockholm Arlanda.

SAS has announced it will open a new route between Copenhagen and Hong Kong from October 28 – shifting to the Danish capital the route that it currently flies to Hong Kong from Stockholm Arlanda.

Since launching the route three years ago, SAS explains that it has “faced challenges when it comes to profitability” on the Stockholm-Hong Kong route.

Thanks to a new airport slot at the busy Asian hub, SAS will now be able to “offer a more attractive timetable with in-demand night flights” to and from Hong Kong.

But it adds that “in order to be able to exploit the new airport slot and offer a night flight to Scandinavia from Hong Kong, the route needs to be flown from Copenhagen for operational reasons”. The move will put into direct competition on the route with oneworld mainstay Cathay Pacific.

Although airlines have been vocal against the new air transport tax in Sweden, which in particular penalises long-haul routes, SAS has not explicitly mentioned the tax as a reason for the route’s shift from Arlanda to Copenhagen. It has already been reported how the tax could benefit aviation in neighbouring Denmark.

“We look forward to being able to offer our customers a better timetable with attractive night flights to and from Kastrup. Obviously, it’s sad that we’re moving from Stockholm, but in this case Copenhagen offers better long-term opportunities that will enable us to further improve the SAS customer experience,” says Karl Sandlund, EVP commercial at SAS.

Catchment advantage
The airline says it will fly from Copenhagen to Hong Kong five days a week starting from the coming winter schedules, with “good connections” from Stockholm and the rest of Scandinavia and northern Europe. This compares to Cathay’s three weekly frequencies.

The opportunity to fly from Copenhagen “offers good long-term market prospects with a large catchment area and operational advantages”, it adds.

“SAS has a strong presence at all the major Scandinavian airports. It is important for us to review all our routes on a continuous basis in order to be able to maximise the benefits both for passengers and our profitability,” Sandlund says.

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