Star Alliance member SAS has been financially troubled for some time. As part of its restructuring efforts, the airline filed for creditor protection at the end of last year. Today, there is exciting news about this restructuring.
Air France-KLM has just announced its intention to acquire approximately 20% of the shares in SAS. As a result, SAS is also distancing itself from its existing partners. SAS will leave the Star Alliance at an as-yet-undisclosed date. Following this departure, the airline plans to join the SkyTeam airline alliance, which includes carriers like KLM, Air France, and Delta Air Lines.
Additional details can be found in the press releases from SAS and Air France-KLM. Air France-KLM is set to pay around $144 million (approximately €138 million) for a 19.9% stake in SAS. Other investors include Castlelake, Lind Invest, and the Danish government.
Star Alliance Loses a Significant Partner in the North
For the Star Alliance, SAS’s planned departure will be a significant loss. For instance, Lufthansa currently offers numerous connecting flights to smaller Scandinavian cities, often including a domestic SAS flight. SAS was one of the alliance’s five founding members in 1997.
In theory, SAS could continue to cooperate with Lufthansa and other Star Alliance members, as is the case with e.g. LATAM. However, this may not be of particular interest to Air France-KLM as the new shareholder.
Likewise, there are likely to be changes in frequent flyer programs. Currently, SAS EuroBonus is one of the most attractive programs in the Star Alliance. Instead of Star Alliance Gold, EuroBonus members will likely receive a SkyTeam (Elite) status in the future. The ability to redeem miles of most Star Alliance programs (Miles&More, Miles&Smiles, Mileage Plus, etc.) for SAS flights is likely to be discontinued.
Cover Picture: © Jetphotos