SAS To Formally Join SkyTeam

According to Air France-KLM, SAS will officially leave Star Alliance and join Skyteam. This a move that follows the group's investment.

As part of its comprehensive restructuring and investment from Air France-KLM, SAS will say goodbye to Star Alliance, a group it was a founding member of, and switch to SkyTeam.

This development was previously identified in 2023; however, it has now been confirmed as the course of action for the airline that has experienced a turbulent last couple of years.

Air France-KLM confirmed the alliance shift in their full-year financial results, saying that this would be completed by the second quarter of 2024, at best.

The group further confirmed that as of December 2023 it had paid a deposit which amount to 13 million euros, this was included in the net cash flow for investing activities. Overall, such an investment will represent USD 144.5 million finalised and spread across several means.

Following an investment from Air France-KLM, the leading aviation group has a view of increasing this stake in the future to what could very well become a majority if deemed suitable. At its current stance, the investment saw Air France-KLM take a 19.9% stake in SAS, with the other percentage points being taken up by others, including Castlelake, a US investment firm.

The airline is still in bankruptcy protection and undergoing thorough restructuring to ensure long-term stability. The ambition is the airline will exit this sometime in 2024, hopefully that being sooner rather than later.

An Alliance Switch

Ultimately, for SAS to switch alliances is a landmark moment for the airline that helped found Star Alliance. The shift, however, to SkyTeam with the influence of Air France-KLM makes a lot of sense.

Once finalised and implemented, the transition will have several ramifications for the airline’s future network and collaborations, which are already reportedly in the works with existing Skyteam members that aren’t Air France-KLM.

While the alliance remains a focal point, Air France-KLM building up their relationship and investment in SAS will allow them something critical: they don’t have a hub in the Northern part of Europe.

The benefits exist through the airline’s collaboration and the connectivity and new joint ventures that can be signed, permitting approval from key regulators, including governments.

A Long Road Ahead

SAS has a long road ahead towards recovery and that won’t come overnight. However, with the guidance of Air France-KLM, the hope is that recovery can be smoother than doing so independently.

Additionally, Air France-KLM has said that their investment is still subject to certain conditions and needs to be finalised. Arguably, the most significant focus will be approval from the European Commission and the US court overseeing the Chapter 11 reorganisation of SAS and the Swedish court.

Daniel Fowkes
05 Mar 2024
· Airlines 

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