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How the airplanes get their names

For seventy years SAS has stuck with the tried and true tradition of naming its planes after Vikings. With the addition of the A320neo to short and medium haul fleet the custom continues.

As part of upgrading its short and medium haul fleet SAS is introducing the most technologically advanced plane on the market, the A320neo. Introducing new planes means finding new names – and the 30 new A320neos will each proudly carry a strong Viking name, just as every SAS plane has done since the airline was launched in 1946.

Prior to air travel the most common form of travelling was by ship. In the early days, when airlines were being formed, many continued the naval tradition of naming the ‘ship’ – and while some carriers have since abandoned the practice SAS has continued with its winning formula. 

“When the national carriers of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden joined together in 1946 it was decided that SAS planes would be named after the Vikings as a way of reflecting the shared Scandinavian heritage,” says Maria Gardefjord, Manager Lease Management at SAS. “The first plane was called Dan Viking, and ever since then SAS planes have been named after kings and chiefs, explorers and conquerors, poets and rune stone carvers, and the Gods of Nordic mythology.”

While Gardefjord is normally in charge of naming all SAS planes the first A320neo to be added to the short and medium haul fleet got its name in a rather different way: as part of celebrating 70 years as Scandinavia’s preferred airline SAS held an internal competition, giving employees the chance to have their say in naming the first exciting new addition to the fleet. The winning name? Sol Viking.

So as you relax in the SAS lounge take a moment to indulge in a little planespotting as you enjoy your surroundings. If you look closely at the new A320neos, you’ll find names like Silje Viking, Ellisiv Viking, Nokve Viking, and Roar Viking – powerful names that reflect the Viking tradition of travelling far and wide, just as SAS does today. 

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