The Swedish government has introduced a new aviation tax which could cost passengers up to 400 SEK for long haul flights. As the main hub operator in Sweden, SAS group today came out with the following statement what can be see as a direct reactions towards this new policy:
“In October, SAS will open a new route from Copenhagen to Hong Kong. This means that the route that currently flies from Stockholm, Arlanda, to Hong Kong, will be moved to Copenhagen, Kastrup, starting from the 2018 winter program.”
The website also stated many challenges SAS has been facing operating the route under current time slot. As I have wrote previous before, the time slot at Hong Kong is a key factor where they’ve been struggling to get passengers to travel with them. See below their current schedule:
The inbound flight to Stockholm has boarding time at 9:20 AM, which is hard to attract premium travellers, however, that’s not the only issue here, as the route does not have any onward codesharing flights within Asia, which could be another reason why they’ve been struggling to make a profit.
Now with the new Swedish aviation tax, it would be even harder for them to offer competitive pricing on such route, Copenhagen would be a wise option for them, judging that Copenhagen airport isn’t really that far away from Sweden, many Swedish reside near the Malmo area can easily reach Copenhagen.
So they aren’t necessary losing much in the market here either, the new route will be schedule first on the 28th October 2018, operating under the following schedule:
You can see that they are trying to maximise their aircraft usage here, with both outbound and inbound flight being night flight, this could be more attractive to many passengers, both business and leisure.
Cathay Pacific currently operating flights under a seasonal schedule three times a week from Hong Kong to Copenhagen. It could be easily turned into a yearly scheduled route determined by their excellent overall product. Cathay in many ways is much more attractive to passengers compared to SAS, not to mention the 1.4 Billion market of mainland China they can easily tap into. While competing with SAS on level playing field can be exciting, I can’t help but imaging the tough competition both airlines would be facing, though it would always be good if passengers can benefit from cheaper travel costs.