Scandinavian Airlines suspends popular service to Norwegian capital
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced that it has withdrawn its Edinburgh to Oslo service until further notice. The airline said the decision was made amid wider financial considerations rather than individual commercial success.
The route was a popular choice for travelers between Scotland and Norway, especially during the summer season. However, the airline said it may reintroduce the service once its “resource situation is more clear”.
SAS faces challenges from Covid-19 and competition
The withdrawal of the Edinburgh-Oslo route is part of a larger restructuring plan by SAS, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of low-cost competitors. The airline reported a net loss of 10.6 billion Swedish kronor ($1.2 billion) for the fiscal year 2020, and said it expects to operate at only 40% of its pre-pandemic capacity in 2021.
SAS has also faced increasing competition from Norwegian Air, which has expanded its network of transatlantic and European flights from Edinburgh and other UK airports. Norwegian Air, however, has also struggled financially and filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2020.
Edinburgh Airport loses another international connection
The loss of the SAS service to Oslo is another blow to Edinburgh Airport, which has seen a significant drop in passenger numbers and revenue due to the travel restrictions and reduced demand caused by the pandemic. The airport reported a loss of £60.4 million ($83.6 million) for the year 2020, and said it expects to take several years to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
Edinburgh Airport has also lost other international connections in recent months, such as the direct flights to Beijing by Hainan Airlines and to Philadelphia by American Airlines. The airport, however, has welcomed some new routes, such as the JetBlue service to New York that launched last week.
SAS remains committed to Edinburgh market
Despite withdrawing the Oslo service, SAS said it remains committed to the Edinburgh market and will continue to operate flights to Stockholm and Copenhagen from the Scottish capital. The airline said it values its customers in Scotland and hopes to resume the Oslo route in the future.
SAS also said it is working closely with the government and the industry to ensure the safety and benefits of air travel amid the pandemic. The airline said it has implemented strict hygiene measures and flexible booking policies to protect its passengers and staff.
What will happen next?
The future of the Edinburgh-Oslo route and other SAS services depends on several factors, such as the recovery of the travel demand, the availability of resources, and the competitive environment. The airline said it will monitor the situation closely and adjust its plans accordingly.
However, some analysts have expressed doubts about the viability of SAS in the long term, given its high costs and low profitability. They have suggested that SAS may need to merge with another carrier or seek more government support to survive.