Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) is in talks with national carrier Air India to ink a pro-rata agreement for providing connectivity to its passengers from New Delhi to seven more domestic cities. According to a report in today’s Economic Times, SAS will also look at other areas of co-operation with Air India such as ground handling (maintenance and servicing of aircraft) and catering informed Lennart Paulsson, Director and General Manager for India, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS).
The locations under consideration are Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Goa and Kochi.
The agreement will enable SAS passengers to get connectivity between these cities and Delhi,” stated Paulsson. SAS is targeting the business travellers segment in India as more Scandinavian companies are setting up shop in New Delhi and the Indian companies are looking at expanding overseas. Trade between India and the Scandinavian countries has grown 300 per cent in the past six years.
Similarly, an SAS passenger from any of these cities will be able to connect to any destination on the airline’s network without having to handle separate confirmations and baggage transfers,” informed Paulsson.
SAS, which announced its foray into India last month after it suspended its operations in 2002, currently operates three direct flights a week between New Delhi and Copenhagen. The airline is the national carrier for Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and does not operate flights from any other Indian city.
SAS currently provides domestic connectivity through a tie-up with Jet Airways. However, it felt that Jet is in competition to SAS as it operates flights to London as well as Brussels from where connectivity to the Scandinavian countries is good.
Air India also operates flights to Europe, but SAS felt that the Indian national carrier is a natural ally since it is slated to join the Star Alliance which has the Scandinavian airline as one of the founder members. Air India is already in talks to becoming the 22nd member of the Star Alliance.