Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Airtours Extend their Partnership as Travel and Tourism Recover

by Chantal Welch

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) announced this week that it’s signing a new four-year agreement with travel group Airtours. By extending their partnership, the two operators will be able to respond to the increased demand for travel in summer 2021.

Travel and Tourism

Rebuilding travel and tourism for the future | © Mantas Hesthaven via Unsplash

Tourism Recovery Strategy: Rebuilding Travel for the Future

As travel restrictions begin to ease and the demand for travel in summer 2021 increases, industry businesses are strategically planning their recovery. Travel continues to be one of the hardest-hit sectors, with the Covid-19 pandemic being the catalyst for change in the industry, impacting both travellers and industry operators. The entire industry has had to reflect, reset, restrategise, and rebuild for the future.

The outlook for tourism economy recovery has been uncertain, but now with global vaccination programmes and travel opening up again, things are looking more positive. The recovery strategy for many in the industry has been to adapt and evolve, resulting in technological innovation and a number of valuable partnerships, cross-sector and beyond.


SAS aircraft ready for take-off | © Mike Burdett Wikimedia Commons

Key Industry Partnerships

Star Alliance member Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, is no stranger to partnerships. So far this year, SAS has announced the extension of its partnership with Apollo, its largest contract with a charter operator worth around SEK 3.4 billion (£290 million) over the first three years.

The Scandinavian airline also extended its partnership with engine producer CFM International, in line with its commitment to sustainable aviation. The partnership is fundamental to its fleet upgrade programme that aims to replace older planes with newer, more fuel-efficient engines, improving efficiency and the sustainability performances of its aircraft. The airline’s latest announcement of the extension of its partnership with Airtours is another key part of its recovery strategy and demonstrates SAS’s position as an airline that’s well prepared for travel in the Covid-19 era.

SAS summer schedule

SAS launches summer schedule | © Thomas Couillard via Unsplash

SAS Launches Summer Schedule

Starting in the summer of 2021, the agreement between SAS and Airtours focuses on extending their cooperation on charter and scheduled flights and runs until 2024. The value of the contract is more than SEK 800 million (£68 million) over four years.

Throughout the summer of 2021, SAS will fly Airtours customers from Stockholm and Gothenburg to a range of Mediterranean destinations, with more to be added by summer 2022. The entire charter that SAS flies for Airtours will be flown with new Airbus A320 aircraft.


SAS aircraft in flight | © Luc Verkuringen via Flickr

Markus Ek, Vice President, Global Sales at SAS said:

“We are very pleased with the new agreement with Airtours. Charter partnerships are an important part of SAS’ strategy to seasonalize capacity. It is a positive signal and we look forward to meeting increasing demand for travel as the world gradually opens up with more and more people getting vaccinated. This means that more and more countries will relax their travel restrictions and we can eventually return to more normal travel. Many people are eager to relive their favourite destinations or to discover completely new places.”

SAS jet airplane landing on runway at twilight

SAS jet airplane landing on runway at twilight | © SAS

With the industry on the brink of recovery, cooperation between countries, operators and businesses must continue to strengthen. The industry must prioritise restoring traveller confidence, supporting tourism businesses, promoting domestic tourism, supporting the safe return of international tourism, providing clear information to travellers and most importantly building more resilient, sustainable tourism.

What are your thoughts on industry partnerships in the Covid-19 era? Let us know in the comments below!

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