Air France / KLM to acquire a stake in Scandinavia’s SAS

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  • AMcWhirter

    This news emerged late today. Few if any observers saw this coming.

    Initially, subject to the regulators etc, AF/KLM will acquire a 19.9 per cent non-controlling stake in SAS.

    After two years, and assuming everything goes according to plan, AF/KLM will take a larger, controlling stake in SAS.

    So the idea is to have strategic co-operation between the carriers involved.

    The eventual plan will be for SAS to quit Star Alliance for Skyteam (this information is buried inside the lengthy media statement).

    3 users thanked author for this post.


    Thanks, Alex

    This is interesting at a number of levels. SAS has long struggled, not least because of its ambiguous relationship to the governments of the 3 countries within which it operates, especially because of social and economic obligations to remote destinations in Norway and Sweden. At the same time, its main international/ long-haul hub of CPH seems to have underperformed. Joining Air France/ KLM offers real opportunities to re-orientate services in cooperation with the rest of the group, especially in light of KLM’s capacity challenges at Schiphol. For example, feeding UK regional traffic through CPH to Asia could be attractive if/ when relations with Russia improve.

    Given IAG’s reported interest in TAP and constant reports of Lufthansa Group’s expansion plans, long-time predictions of consolidation that will leave us with 4 major operating companies in Europe (sorry, Easyjet and Norwegian) do seem more and more likely to be fulfilled.

    At a personal level, I have family across Norway and am FB Platinum for Life. Currently, KLM from Scotland and SAS or Norwegian domestically are often the choices I have to make. Therefore, bring these changes on, the sooner the better.

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    correct – no one would have seen that coming. SAS are a solid and long time member of *A


    Indeed superchris.

    SAS was one of the five founding members of Star. Airlines do change alliances from time to time but this is the first time a founding member will quit Star.

    TominScotland – yes it will open up a new range of connection opportunities.

    Yes it was expected that, at some stage, Lufthansa would acquire SAS. But Lufthansa has other challenges right now which are more urgent I feel.


    This indeed almost came out of nowhere. No prolonged discussions in the media and then just the announcement. Impressive.

    I was surprised to learn that SAS had a joint venture with Lufthansa from 1995 before even Star alliance came to be. Yes, it was widely assumed that LH would take over SAS. But i think this probably ended up not happening as LH likes to take full control of the airlines it acquires. ITA is looking very shaky if recent reports are to go by.

    Remains to be seen if LH actually makes a serious offer for TAP. They need the market share in South America/ Brazil.


    Makes sense, and gives them the optionality they might need should the Dutch parliament enact a transfer tax and further curtail movements at AMS.


    Received today:

    A message from SAS President & CEO

    Hi Tominscotland,

    Today, we announced an exciting and transformative step to build on SAS’ 75-year long history and position our airline at the forefront of the industry for years to come.

    We are securing an investment in the reorganized SAS of USD 1,175 million from Castlelake, L.P., Air France-KLM, and Lind Invest together with the Danish state. The investment will provide us with the financial resources to be an even stronger airline for our customers and communities across Scandinavia and other markets.

    In connection with this milestone, we intend to eventually join the airline alliance SkyTeam, at which time we will exit Star Alliance. While we are proud to have been a founding member of Star Alliance, we are confident that joining SkyTeam will further strengthen our customer offering.

    Importantly, nothing is changing as of now. We still need to obtain regulatory approvals and meet certain conditions to complete the investment transaction and change alliance. Here’s what that means for our airline and for you as a EuroBonus member:
    • You can continue to book flights with us as usual. We look forward to continue welcoming passengers in Scandinavia today, and well into the future as we move forward as an even stronger airline.
    • Until we complete the transaction, we remain part of Star Alliance. You as a EuroBonus member will continue to enjoy your usual benefits when flying on our partner airlines, and you will be able to accrue and redeem points on Star Alliance partners – just like today. Award bookings with our partners remain valid.
    • As a EuroBonus member, you can continue to accrue and redeem points on SAS and on non-air partners.
    • Your status and benefits as a EuroBonus member when you fly with SAS will not be impacted.
    We will keep you informed about what to expect over the coming months and will provide updates on the EuroBonus website under latest news.

    We are proud of our legacy as Scandinavia’s leading airline since 1946 and look forward to continue serving you for years to come.

    Thank you for your continued loyalty.


    Anko van der Werff
    President & CEO, SAS

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    What does it mean “we will EVENTUALLY
    join Sky Team?
    Is it in the near future (2024) or in many years from now?
    I remember it took about 6 months between Virgin announcing they would join Sky Team and it actually happening if I am not mistaken.


    MMalins1 – it takes time for an airline to join an alliance.

    I doubt if, at this stage, anybody would be able to provide a timescale.


    Just posted by SAS via X / twitter.


    It is still not a done deal over the investment in SAS. May it be contested?

    “Deal between Air France-KLM and SAS not over yet: compromise reached on delayed payment of a fee”. 12 Oct.2023.

    Deal between Air France-KLM and SAS not over yet: compromise reached on delayed payment of a fee


    So it appears that SAS now has the funding confirmed.

    “SAS wins court nod for $1.2bn AF-KLM consortium funding,” ch-aviation, 23-11-23

    2 users thanked author for this post.


    Quite an addition for AF % KLM to incorporate SAS / Scandinavia into their network, a geographical “wrap around” the UK from Northern Europe , right down to France.
    Let’s hope that the integration of SAS (if the Brand is kept) into Skyteam, will be better managed than Virgin Atlantic was, still is!

    A clear date effective, earn / spend of mileage, status earning clear, reciprocal benefits for each higher program’s tier members on both sides is vital. It remains a mess with VS. Such as refused access to LHR lounge by VS as some have reported on here.

    Being able to book with miles on line and not only phone arranged award flights is needed, which still is missing for VS, makes booking laborious and off putting when you need to see at a glance available options.
    Flying Blue rarely shows anything but KLM AF Delta, for flight awards on line, not other Skyteam airlines partners.
    It has been and still is continues as forum members have raised, as well as staff awareness of these reciprocal benefits is very poor.

    This needs Skyteam to integrate member Airlines and have an across the board booking platform for purchased tickets well as redemption bookings.

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