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Air France-KLM Acquires Share of SAS, Brings Carrier to SkyTeam Alliance

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Nick Ellis

Nick Ellis

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Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury

Keri Stooksbury


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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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The Air France-KLM Group sent shockwaves through the industry when it announced today, October 3, 2023, that it intends to acquire a stake in Scandinavian Airlines, more commonly known as SAS. Further, SAS will leave the Star Alliance and join Air France-KLM and a number of other major carriers in the SkyTeam alliance.

Let’s take a look at all the details of this bombshell development.

SAS To Partner With Air France-KLM, Leave Star Alliance

SAS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July of 2022 and recently received an extension of its bankruptcy protection that expires on January 8, 2024.

So while it comes as no surprise that the airline has found a partner to fund its exit from bankruptcy protection, the identity of that partner is somewhat of a shock.

SAS was a founding partner of the Star Alliance more than a quarter century ago. But, as a result of the new partnership with Air France-KLM, SAS will leave Star Alliance in favor of SkyTeam, which includes airlines such as Air France, Delta Air Lines, KLM, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, and many more.

Air France intends to take a stake in Scandinavia’s SAS. Image Credit: Markus Mainka via Adobe Stock

The deal is subject to government approval. If all relevant approvals are secured, Air France-KLM will take a “maximum 19.9% non-controlling stake” in SAS.

Speaking about the deal, Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith said: “Air France-KLM looks forward to establishing strong commercial ties with SAS. With its well-established position in Scandinavia and strong brand, SAS offers tremendous potential to Air France-KLM. This cooperation will allow Air France-KLM to enhance its position in the Nordics and improve connectivity for Scandinavian and European travelers.”

European airlines have been consolidating at a dizzying rate in recent years, with Lufthansa Group recently taking a large stake in Italian carrier ITA and TAP Air Portugal actively courting a partner. With this new relationship, Air France-KLM will be able to integrate flight schedules across SAS’ 3 existing hubs in Copenhagen (CPH), Oslo (OSL), and Stockholm (ARN) with its own hubs in Paris (CDG) and Amsterdam (AMS), respectively, giving the group even more of a presence across the continent and providing passengers with more choices for global connections.

There aren’t many firm details available at this point, so we don’t yet know when this partnership will be finalized nor when SAS will join SkyTeam.

Hot Tip:

Learn all there is to know about the SkyTeam alliance in our full guide!

Final Thoughts

Air France-KLM’s acquisition of a stake in SAS is huge news for the aviation industry. For Star Alliance fans, this is going to be somewhat of a bummer, as they’re going to soon lose a key European member of the group. On the flip side, this is sure to be exciting for SkyTeam flyers, who will soon have greater access not only to the Nordic countries but also to the connecting options SAS provides through its 3 hubs in Scandinavia.

This is a developing story with many more details to be revealed. We’ll be sure to update this story as we learn more.

About Nick Ellis

Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to leverage the perks of each.


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