Scandinavian Airlines to launch flights to Atlanta

Daily flights to begin June 17

Scandinavian Airlines announced it will launch flights to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport starting in June, the latest foreign carrier to enter the Atlanta market.

The airline said it will operate daily flights starting June 17 between Copenhagen and Atlanta, which is its ninth destination in North America. The flights will be on Airbus A330-300 jets with 262 seats.

It will switch to a winter schedule with five flights a week on an Airbus A350-900 with 300 seats starting in late October.

Paul Verhagen, chief commercial officer of Scandinavian Airlines, said he expects the route is expected to attract leisure and business travelers headed to the U.S. and to Europe. Cargo business is also a key driver for the route because of the Port of Savannah, one of the busiest ports in the United States.

“We see definitely European and Scandinavian corporates with whom we have corporate agreements and that have interest in, for example, the Atlanta area,” Verhagen said, adding that companies in banking, pharmaceutical industries, insurance and services could make use of the flights. And, “You have all kinds of leisure travelers.”

From Atlanta, travelers will be able to connect at SAS’s Copenhagen hub to other destinations around Europe.

Scandinavian Airlines, also known as SAS, recently struck an agreement with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines to allow SAS customers to connect to Delta flights in Atlanta — though it is not a full codeshare marketing agreement.

Meanwhile, Delta joint venture partners Air France-KLM last fall announced plans to invest in SAS with a stake of up to 19.9% as part of the bankruptcy restructuring of SAS. As part of the deal, SAS plans to exit the Star Alliance airline network that has United Airlines as a key member and join Delta Air Lines’ and Air France-KLM’s SkyTeam alliance.

Atlanta is a natural choice for a new destination “because it is the biggest airport in the world and hence, has a lot of beyond connectivity to lots of destinations,” Verhagen said.

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