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SAS' new A320neo - a big part of the new fleet. Photo: Airbus
SAS' new A320neo - a big part of the new fleet. Photo: Airbus

A short-haul fleet for the future

The introduction of the A320neo aircraft is just the first step in SAS’s plan to upgrade its entire short- and medium-haul fleet – an upgrade that puts both sustainability and the travel experience front and center.

Now that SAS’s long-haul upgrade is complete – and has been universally praised – attention has turned to the 100 aircraft in the short and medium haul fleet.

The A320neo is the most efficient aircraft in its market segment. It will replace 30 planes in the SAS short and mediumhaul fleet, while the 70 remaining aircraft will be re-fit to bring them in line with the product offering on the A320neo. 

About the upgrade to A320neo

A320neos will replace one third of the fleet by 2020 (starting in October 2016)

15 to 20% less fuel per flight

Remainder of fleet to be upgraded with new cabins

High-speed WiFi from summer 2017: 12 megabits per person, free for all EuroBonus members and travelers in SAS Plus

“The A320neo is the first physical evidence of the total makeover of our short and medium haul fleet,” says Rickard Gustafson, SAS CEO. “The neo not only features the latest technology, it also allows us to introduce an entirely new design experience, putting traveler comfort at the forefront.”

SAS is committed to making the travel experience as joyful as possible, whether the traveler is at the gate, in an SAS lounge or on a plane. This is why the new short and medium haul cabins, which reflect the upgrade on SAS’s long haul fleet, are extremely stylish and relaxed and provide the most up-to-date travel experience.

“Historically speaking, flying has been about dreams and the feeling of exploring the world,” says Eivind Roald, SAS Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “In recent years, though, some of the glamor has been lost. We’re putting the human experience back into flying, taking care of travelers’ needs from start to finish. We’ve asked people what they want and we’re giving it to them.”

The Airbus A320neo. Photo: Airbus

One of the biggest things travelers want is WiFi that reflects their needs.

“This is not the usual airplane WiFi experience that European customers are used to,” explains Johan Mägi, Head of Onboard Product and Services. “The WiFi we’re introducing is more like your home experience. It’s fast – 12 megabits per person – which means that travelers can stream their on-demand services such as Netflix, HBO and Viaplay. The new WiFi service is free for all EuroBonus members and travelers in SAS Plus.”

Other neo cabin improvements include softer, lighter and more comfortable seat cushions, more legroom and USB power outlets at every seat, allowing travelers to make the best use of WiFi onboard and to be fully charged and ready at their destination.

Additionally, a new color scheme is being introduced using soft grays with wood accents. Mood lighting that reflects different times of day will give the cabin the feeling of being in your living room or a lounge. SAS has made sustainability a big pillar in its long-term planning. The introduction of the A320neo, which uses 15 to 20% less fuel per flight compared with the aircraft in use today, along with the use of biofuel perfectly positions SAS as a leader in sustainable travel.

Features in the A320neo interior

Extra legroom

More comfortable seats

New color scheme

Mood lighting

The cabin upgrade on the short and mediumhaul fleet also fits well with SAS’s sustainability agenda, since with the exception of food servings, everything is now made from lighter or recycled materials. This helps ensure that design functionality and comfort are increased while the environmental impact is reduced.

“Our aim is to increase both functionality and customer comfort,” says Lars Andersen Resare, Head of Environment and CSR. “When we do upgrades we always strive to go lighter.”

“We want to drive, support and demand the development of more efficient aircraft without skimping on traveler enjoyment,” says Eivind Roald. “Introducing the neo and overhauling the rest of the fleet means we don’t have to buy as many carbon emission credit allowances, a saving we can pass on to our customers while still giving a superior travel experience.”

The A320neo and upgrades to the rest of the short and medium haul fleet will service SAS’s Scandinavian and European routes and will be completed by 2020. 

“We know it’s important to our travelers to fly with an airline that takes sustainability seriously while delivering an optimal flying experience,” says CEO Rickard Gustafson. “Upgrading the short and medium-haul fleet allows us to support our travelers’ varying needs and we expect the reaction to be as overwhelmingly positive as it was for our long haul upgrade.”


Text: Judi Lembke