Odd: Scandinavian Airlines Adds New York JFK Flights

Odd: Scandinavian Airlines Adds New York JFK Flights

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For the first time in over 30 years, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will fly to JFK… and I find that to be a bit surprising?

Scandinavian Airlines returns to JFK

As of February 9, 2023, Scandinavian Airlines will launch a route between New York (JFK) and Copenhagen (CPH). The service will initially operate 5x weekly, but will ramp up to daily in the summer season. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

SK919 Copenhagen to New York departing 6:25PM arriving 9:30PM
SK920 New York to Copenhagen departing 11:00PM arriving 12:55PM (+1 day)

The 3,856-mile flight is blocked at 9hr5min westbound and 7hr55min eastbound. Scandinavian Airlines will initially use an Airbus A321LR for the route, featuring just 157 seats. Then for summer the airline will upgrade the route to an Airbus A330-300, featuring 262 seats.

Scandinavian Airlines will operate out of Terminal 7 at JFK, which will eventually be demolished. This is the terminal that British Airways is currently moving out of, as the carrier co-locates with American Airlines at Terminal 8.

Scandinavian Airlines business class

Why Scandinavian Airlines’ return to JFK is surprising

On the surface, an airline adding a transatlantic flight to New York seems logical enough. What makes this noteworthy is that Scandinavian Airlines hasn’t flown to New York JFK for over 30 years, and instead all of the carrier’s service to the New York area has been consolidated at Newark Airport.

The airline flies to Newark from Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm. Plenty of airlines have realized that JFK and EWR aren’t total substitutes for some passengers, though in this case:

  • Scandinavian Airlines is part of Star Alliance, so has lots of connectivity out of Newark, while it has virtually no connectivity out of JFK
  • Scandinavian Airlines is in bankruptcy protection and is trying to cut costs, and the economics of once daily service to an airport with a small aircraft can be challenging, so the timing here seems odd

The airline states that this new route is intended to make travel easier from both the West and East side of New York. Here’s how Erik Westman, EVP & CCO of Network and Revenue management, describes this new route:

“We are very pleased to launch our new route to JFK. SAS offers a solid product to Newark Airport from Scandinavia, and we believe that this addition to JFK from Copenhagen will strengthen the New York offer to our customers. The US is a strategic market for SAS, and we will continue to develop new routes and destinations whenever the right opportunity presents itself.”

It’s just interesting to see how airlines seem to waffle between JFK and EWR service — some airlines view the two airports as substitutes, some don’t, and some can’t seem to decide.

SAS will fly to JFK Terminal 7

Bottom line

Scandinavian Airlines is returning to New York JFK after leaving the airport several decades ago. The airline will operate a route between New York and Copenhagen, complementing existing service out of Newark. Given that Scandinavian Airlines is looking to cut costs, plus given the carrier’s connectivity out of Newark, I’m kind of surprised to see this new service launching right now.

What do you make of SAS returning to JFK?

Conversations (36)
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  1. Spinkid000 New Member

    To quote yourself.. "some airlines view the two airports as substitutes, some don’t, and some can’t seem to decide.".
    Insert passengers for airlines and you have your answer.

    Prepare to see lots more A321LR across the Atlantic. Isn't that why they built them?

  2. Guest Guest

    You don't understand since this is a superficial analysis by an enthusiast, not a credible aviation industry professional.

  3. iamhere Guest

    It's not weird. Newark is primarily not for New York people and most people flying into Newark are connecting particularly on Star Alliance carriers so they probably realized they have enough New York local demand to cover JFK. Plus the flight fares can be different. It is considered a different airport. If you wanted to change the ticket it is NYC in the search but not NYC to change.

  4. Mark Buckland Guest

    Newark airport is a toilet. I’m sure SAS want out before the lame and disgusting port authority tear it down

  5. Dragan Guest

    Great I will go with them next year.

  6. Grey Gold

    I don't see why you think it is so weird. Asia is still not fully reopened, plus, Scandinavia is not well located for the closure of Russian airspace. So it makes sense to test out this route to see if they can make it work. They don't need connection traffic at NYC because that is the destination for many people. People connecting can go on the EWR flights, but CPH is a very big hub,...

    I don't see why you think it is so weird. Asia is still not fully reopened, plus, Scandinavia is not well located for the closure of Russian airspace. So it makes sense to test out this route to see if they can make it work. They don't need connection traffic at NYC because that is the destination for many people. People connecting can go on the EWR flights, but CPH is a very big hub, so people can change there from all over Europe and the world. Maybe it won't work out long term and they pull out, but they have extra planes to play around with, so why not?

  7. Sam Guest

    The two airports are not substitutes. Loads of people live in NJ and would never fly from JFK. Likewise millions live in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, and would never fly from EWR if given a choice. The only people for whom they are substitutes are those who live in Manhattan. NYC metro has a population of nearly 20 million, and only 1.6 million live in Manhattan. For the remaining 18 million people, the airports are not substitutes.

  8. Ian Sampson Guest

    Interesting. I hope that maybe Scandinavian will resume flying from JFK to Stockholm and Oslo.

  9. mik Guest

    As said before, it is apparently because of slot availability. SAS needs to use the aircraft for something while PEK, HND and PVG(partly) are on hold

  10. Eric Guest

    Great idea , that is an busy Icelander's competition and we all count on low prices !

  11. Brianair Guest

    Wow! It never occurred to me that SAS never flew to JFK for three decades. I remember trying to figure out what terminal at JFK they flew out of.

  12. Jordan Gold

    It's J F K.

    The timing suggests feed from their home base, plus its an A321.

    Also it's 30 years later.

    Honestly. NYC, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and many other mega-cities flights can exist on O&D. JFK was always based upon O&D until B6 turned it into a hub, and DL had no choice.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "JFK was always based upon O&D until B6 turned it into a hub, and DL had no choice."

      Commonly expressed, but not exactly true. JFK, while generating enormous O&D, has long since had a significant transfer component, since well back into the PanAm days.

      One reason it's not readily reflected, is that many were and are multi-ticket, thus mimicking O&D.

  13. Hans Erik Jensen Guest

    SAS has extra aircraft available for long haul as its China and Japan business is still on hold.

    US business is up for SAS, and by adding JFK it can use underutilized aircraft. Plus EWR is overcrowded and slots likely not available.

  14. Christian Guest

    There are lots of other Star Alliance carriers that fly into JFK without the connection options you mention as a problem for SAS. ‍♂️

  15. Chicago Chris Guest

    Where did they get the slots? I thought there was no room at the inn.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      They arrive fairly early. JFK isn't anywhere near as congested in the morning/early afternoon as it is during the early evening rushes.

  16. Jason Guest

    It doesn’t need connectivity at jfk. It can operate the flight completely based on nyc area demand. This flight feeds the Copenhagen hub with New York passengers. Just like spokes feed hubs in every other hub and spoke system. Not odd in the slightest. There are many people in certain parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, queens, Long Island, westcHester county, and Connecticut (millions!!) for whom newark isn’t convenient. I don’t think it should be hard to...

    It doesn’t need connectivity at jfk. It can operate the flight completely based on nyc area demand. This flight feeds the Copenhagen hub with New York passengers. Just like spokes feed hubs in every other hub and spoke system. Not odd in the slightest. There are many people in certain parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, queens, Long Island, westcHester county, and Connecticut (millions!!) for whom newark isn’t convenient. I don’t think it should be hard to find out of these millions of people 159-260 a day to fill a plane. Why is that odd?

  17. Tom Guest

    The comment above about EWR being removed from NYC is not true. That has been debunked in multiple places. It to do with fares, not schedules and searches. See here:

    https://thepointsguy.com/news/iata-ewr-airport-code-nyc/amp/

    Get it that you have an issue with EWR which is your personal deal but for many of us who live in Manhattan, we do not care between EWR and JFK - all about schedule and fare.

    1. Ikhan Guest

      I live in Manhattan and fly out of EWR from time to time. EWR works in theory, but things go wrong more often than they are at JFK. All it takes is bad traffic west of Hudson and rail problems on the only train route to make me hate choosing EWR.

    2. Ivan X Guest

      I live downtown and if I’m going by car I’d rather fly out of EWR every day of the week.

  18. Luke Guest

    Depending on time of day, EWR can be quicker to reach from parts of Manhattan and Staten Island by car. By train from Penn Station, EWR and JFK take pretty much same amount of time to reach.

    1. pstm91 Diamond

      Totally depends on where in Manhattan you are going. There's also a huge caveat to your point - you have to deal with/experience Penn Station...

    2. Christian Guest

      There are people that might prefer JFK like those of us out of CT. It’s not just people from Manhattan and LI that use the area airports.

  19. STEFFL Member

    Maybe some Airlines DO think ahead of time . . . EWR not NYC!!!
    In all global reservation Systems, EWR is thankfully NOT be considered NYC anymore! So if somebody on the web or on any of the many flight booking engines on those internet sites, will search for flights NYC - CPH . . .
    EWR will NOT be displayed anymore!
    Makes sense, as it has NEVER been NY to begin...

    Maybe some Airlines DO think ahead of time . . . EWR not NYC!!!
    In all global reservation Systems, EWR is thankfully NOT be considered NYC anymore! So if somebody on the web or on any of the many flight booking engines on those internet sites, will search for flights NYC - CPH . . .
    EWR will NOT be displayed anymore!
    Makes sense, as it has NEVER been NY to begin with.
    In the future, those people have to specifically search for EWR departure or arrival, while NYC still listst LGA as well as JFK as NYC citycode!
    JFK is and will always be, the better choice fro those trying to get anywhere in NY, while Tunnels, Bridges and other charges to get to NYC from EWR as well as the traffic at rush hours is crazy!
    Flat rate to Manhattan from JFK, compared to expensive charges from EWR is just a logic move i think.

    CPH-JFK makes absolutelly sense to me, especially in the summer season.

    NYC City Code:
    Due to new standards being imposed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Newark-Liberty will no longer be considered a New York City airport starting on October 3.

    1. --- Guest

      Not true. The change means they can file separate fares, but EWR flights will still show up when you search for NYC.

    2. Tom Guest

      False

      https://thepointsguy.com/news/iata-ewr-airport-code-nyc/amp/

    3. 305 Guest

      False. And have fun cheering for your beloved NEW YORK Jets/Giants from….guess where….NJ!

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "Makes sense, as it has NEVER been NY to begin with"

      No one ever said it was. But it is NYC, which like several other metros (e.g. CHI, WAS, CVG, MCI, etc) spans multiple states.

  20. derek Guest

    Alaska Airlines is famous for one flight a day to an airport from Seattle. They know how to make it work and it's a mainline jet. For example, Seattle-San Antonio.

    1. Thomas Guest

      Not a great example. AS cut San Antonio recently. But yes Alaska makes this work to a bunch of cities. And as a SEA resident I love the convenience!

  21. Alpha Golf Guest

    I don’t think it’s weird. With a small aircraft, they don’t need feed. And most New Yorkers don’t see Newark as a good substitute for JFK, as United has realized. And Newark is super inconvenient for people from Brooklyn/Queens/Long Island.

  22. Tim Dunn Diamond

    DL restarted JFK-CPH last summer and did well esp. when SAS was on strike.
    They have it reloaded for next year. SAS has no choice but to try to cut DL off. DL has far more feed at JFK than SK has at CPH so this will be an interesting route to watch.

    1. Ivan X Guest

      @Tim Dunn but is DL profitable? How is their revenue among US carriers?

  23. shoeguy Guest

    Wonder what the lounge access at T7 will be for SK customers. If AS is moving to T8 in March 2023, then presumably that lounge will close. The BA Lounge at T7 may be converted to some outsourced third party provider as T7 will remain open for some time.

    1. Klaus Guest

      I suppose due to customer demand, SAS will not offer lounge access at JFK

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--- Guest

Not true. The change means they can file separate fares, but EWR flights will still show up when you search for NYC.

3
ConcordeBoy Diamond

They arrive fairly early. JFK isn't anywhere near as congested in the morning/early afternoon as it is during the early evening rushes.

1
Alpha Golf Guest

I don’t think it’s weird. With a small aircraft, they don’t need feed. And most New Yorkers don’t see Newark as a good substitute for JFK, as United has realized. And Newark is super inconvenient for people from Brooklyn/Queens/Long Island.

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