SAS’ New Copenhagen To Los Angeles Route

Filed Under: SAS

SAS has just announced a major adjustment to one of their US routes.

SAS Drops Los Angeles to Stockholm In Favor Of Los Angeles To Copenhagen

SAS has been flying between Los Angeles and Stockholm for several years now, though that particular route is being canceled.

SAS has announced that they’ll fly nonstop between Los Angeles and Copenhagen as of January 13, 2020, at the expense of their Los Angeles to Stockholm flight.

The new flight will operate with the following schedule:

SK931 Copenhagen to Los Angeles departing 9:35AM arriving 12:15PM
SK932 Los Angeles to Copenhagen departing 2:00PM arriving 10:10AM (+1 day)

As SAS’ EVP of Commercial describes this change:

“By opening a year-round route to Los Angeles from Copenhagen we are increasing availability and enabling growth. The timetable is attractive, and thanks to the economies of scale we can achieve in fully utilizing our fleet, we are in a position to provide a daily service from Copenhagen Airport.”

Why Is SAS Making This Change?

As SAS explains it, this change is being made due to “big demand from customers in Denmark and North Europe and a timetable from six to seven departures a week.”

While that’s the official explanation, could there be more to this?

  • Last year SAS announced that their Hong Kong flight would be relocated from Stockholm to Copenhagen, so this isn’t the first long haul route moving from Sweden to Denmark
  • Norwegian has this winter canceled their Los Angeles to Copenhagen flight, which they operated prior to that
  • Sweden charges an aviation eco-tax, which Denmark doesn’t

I suspect this change isn’t due to any one of the above factors, but rather a combination of all of them. It seems like Los Angeles to Copenhagen is a bigger market than Los Angeles to Stockholm, there are more connection opportunities, and the aviation tax for Sweden makes it more economical to instead fly via Denmark.

It does seem that the shame that Sweden is creating around flying is softening demand… but I guess that’s also the goal?

What do you make of SAS adjusting their Los Angeles flight from Stockholm to Copenhagen?

Comments
  1. This is a return to the historically significant pioneering polar route CPH-LAX service that was so technologically challenging. It started in 1954 and continued for decades until being dropped in the last several years. When SAS resumed service from LAX recently, but this time to Stockholm, I was really surprised, and I assumed it was primarily serve a heavy leisure market component… but I am thrilled to see that they moved it back to CPH– this will be far better for premium business travelers as well as leisure travelers with far better connectivity to SAS’ global hub. I think its great!

  2. Stockholm has 1.5x the population of Copenhagen. The GDP of Sweden is 1.6x that of Denmark. I don’t think they are making the change due to demand. They’re doing it to avoid the EUR 6-39 eco tax.

  3. @Rico

    Where are you getting those population figures from? Look at the metro figures, not the city proper. CPH also serves southern Sweden and the overall metro area is more populated for Copenhagen/Malmo than greater Stockholm.

    Also, January 2020 is when they’re getting their first A350. Maybe we’ll see a change in their utilization of that aircraft.

  4. @archer528

    I googled Stockholm/Copenhagen population for my original post. I just redid the calculation by googling metro areas and Stockholm metro population is 1.14x Copenhagen metro’s. I don’t know if Copenhagen metro includes Malmo or not.

  5. @Rico Copenhagen Metro will not include southern Sweden. Copenhagen Airport is bigger in numbers than Stockholm because it’s also the airport of southern Sweden these days. With Norwegian closing down their popular L.A. – Copenhagen route, this is only logical. And Copenhagen has a lot of really good connections to several cities in Poland, that they can benefit from.

  6. Having recently flown SAS from CPH-SFO I hope they improve the aesthetics of CPH and rethink their product service on Trans-At flights, I know a tic off topic. If ARN is a more aesthetically pleasing airpaort, then It’s a step backward.

  7. ARN is a tough market for long hauls and the SAS decision proves it. Norwegian has dropped all year-round ARN long hauls to the USA except FLL.

  8. CPH is also SAS’ main hub, more convenient for all connecting passengers from/to southern Europe to Norway and Sweden.
    Like you I think it’s a combination of factors, but Norwegian leaving is compelling.
    I haven’t checked fares, but Finnair is probably cheaper to fly to HKG, it’s just a hop away from ARN, on fact of Scandinavia, CPH included.

  9. I think the current anti-aviation sentiment in Sweden is, at least, a partial driver for this change, along with the other issues Lucky mentioned.

  10. CPH is right on the way to Greenland. Once Greenland becomes the 51st US state, lots of Angelenos will be heading there to buy up waterfront property.

  11. It didn’t make much sense to serve LAX only from Stockholm. Copenhagen is their long-haul hub and every long-haul destination in the SAS network has a CPH connection except, until now, LAX.

    Their non-CPH long-haul network is simply ARN-EWR/MIA/ORD and OSL-EWR/MIA.

  12. Historically, SAS wanted to focus the majority of International flights out of CPH back in the 90s. Then ARN and OSL started to grow and it fell apart somewhat.

    Regardless of population, Denmark is a bigger draw. I like Sweden (Malmo). Visited Stockholm for the first time last month (soooo boring) but then, this was coming off the hidden gem of Riga, that was spectacular.

  13. I was able to snag a December award in business from SFO-CPH-NRT using 75k lifemiles. 21 hours of flight time. It’s the first leg of my planned round the world trip. It’s my first SAS flight so i hope everything is good. LAX-CPH is a welcome addition.

  14. I am a big fan of SAS business class, and they often have good fares from Europe to the US.

    CPH is an interesting airport, because it really looks like a shopping mall, with a lot of apparel retailers, toy stores, stores for house decor… almost a bit bizarre, but not necessarily bad. Probably more useful to most than the usual combo of duty free + luxury brands only.

  15. Greta ! &

    Norwegian pulled out of Stockholm Non Florida trans Continental and SAS can now have everyone go to CPH again as always.

  16. The Swedish government introduced a stiff tax on air travel with the intention to reduce air travel from Sweden. As the tax is distance based it makes sense for the airlines to have short connections from Sweden to hubs elsewhere and run the long haul flights from these hubs (eg CPH)

  17. SAS’ longhaul “strategy”, if they have any, appears to be like this:

    – So, boys and girls, we have all these widebodies at hand. Any suggestions what to do with them next year?
    – Well, I have a cousin in Osaka…
    – That’s great! Let’s fly there next summer. You live in Oslo, right? What would be more convenient for you, Stockholm or Copenhagen?
    – I think Stockholm.
    – Great, Stockholm-Osaka three times a week next summer. And in the winter, I think we’ll fly to Miami. It’s just that the letter M is so beautiful…

  18. Copenhagen airport is a busier airport than Stockholm’s, so it will probably could provide for more connections as well.

  19. Isn’t the greater Copenhagen area something covering about 4M people? It includes the Malmo area in Sweden so I’d say that whole area together is a bigger catchment than Stockholm. Makes sense.

  20. CPH has a far larger catchment area than ARN, which is evident not least in its international pax numbers. While ARN-LAX flights have been departing with good loads, the yield just isn’t there from Stockholm. When the HKG flight moved from ARN to CPH, the fares increase significantly and the loads remained roughly the same — and the route is now profitable for SAS.

  21. CPH probably remains the second most used O&D airport by Swedes taking long-haul trips on scheduled common carriers.

    The reason so many Swedes use CPH has nothing to do with Swedish taxes, and it has everything to do with where the money is in Sweden and how the bridge and train network serving CPH was built with Sweden’s use of CPH in mind.

  22. CPH is chock full of passengers originating or terminating flight trips at CPH and continuing by surface transport means to Malmo and elsewhere in Skane and other parts of southern, southwestern and south eastern Sweden. I even see trains from Gothenburg filling up with passengers headed to start flight trips out of CPH. I would say CPH’s catchment area in Sweden goes where the Oresundstag trains go in Sweden. That is as far as Kalmar in one direction, Vaxjo in another direction and Gothenburg in another direction. And all of that via Malmo.

  23. Another opportunity for SAS to screw their customers I guess. Sell lots of tickets, cancel the flights, don’t return the money and chill.

  24. SAS really needs to have some promotional fares to LAX. The amount of Star Alliance flights from LAX to Europe is honestly pretty impressive. Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, LOT, United… And Lufthansa group for example is always hundreds of dollars cheaper than SAS. I see SAS continuing to struggle in this market unless they’re banking on Scandinavians willing to pay a premium to either originate in the Øresund region, or transit through Scandinavia. Copenhagen is a beautiful airport and super easy to navigate, so hopefully SAS can allure some of those originating in LAX a nice option instead of the huge airports like London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. Just need the right price…

  25. Norwegian Will come back its a rolls royce issue. IF they can work out the payment issue ( small airlines not paid by banks until flight delivred)

  26. Swedish krona tanking isn’t something that should go unnoticed when pointing the reasons for decisions such as this one.

  27. Flew CPH-LAX in 1956 on an SAS DC-7. Stopped to refuel at a U.S. Air Force base in Greenland and in Winnipeg. Pilot shut off number 3 engine over Hudson Bay, but it was a false alarm and it was back to all four after Winnipeg. 22 hours total I think. I had just turned 10. Hopefully I’m going to Europe next summer on miles (economy) and I’d love to return CPH-LAX on SAS again. Probably won’t stop in Greenland this time.

  28. The fact that one metro is larger than another does not mean that the larger metro will have the busier airport. Look at Chicago vs. Atlanta. Chicago metro is much larger than Atlanta, but Atlanta has the busier airport. Many other factors enter in, such as geographical location and catchment area.

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