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Airlines in Scandinavia - statistics & facts

Air traffic is an important means of transportation in all the Nordic countries. Long distances, not a lot of road connections to the rest of continental Europe and the world, as the Nordics are surrounded mainly by sea, predestined the vast Scandinavian region (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) for air travel.
The leading airlines are Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Icelandair, which belongs to the Icelandair Group. All the companies are based in Scandinavia. Other minor airlines are the Norwegian airline Widerøe, as well as Sweden’s Novair and TUIfly Nordic and the Denmark-based Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. Atlantic Airways, which are based on the Faroe Islands, and Air Greenland also operate in Scandinavia. The Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW air announced in March 2019 to cease its operations along with all flights.

Scandinavian Airlines

The perhaps best-known airline in Scandinavia is Scandinavian Airlines, widely referred to as SAS. The Swedish, Danish and Norwegian governments each hold major shares in the company, which has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. The main hubs of Scandinavian Airlines are the airports of Stockholm-Arlanda, Copenhagen-Kastrup and Oslo-Gardermoen. The airline operates domestic flights within Sweden, Denmark and Norway, as well as international flights within Europe, to North America, the Middle East and Asia.
Scandinavian Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, one of the world's largest global airline alliances. With its nearly 800 daily departures, SAS served more than 120 destinations around the globe in 2018/2019. In that period, a fleet of 158 aircraft transported almost 30 million passengers. And with a market share of 30 percent, SAS is one of the leading airlines operating flights to, from and within Scandinavia.
Passenger transportation accounted for the greatest share of SAS’s revenue, which amounted to approximately 46.7 billion Swedish kronor in 2019.

Norwegian Air Shuttle

Norwegian, as the name shows, is a Norway-based low-cost airline and one of the most profitable airlines in Scandinavia. The headquarters are located in Fornebu, Norway. In addition to Norway, the airline has several bases for its operations in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, the United States, Italy and the French Caribbean.
130 destinations are served by Norwegian on over 400 routes around the globe. Most of the company’s revenue is generated by international flights to destinations in Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, the Caribbean and the United States. Those destinations are reached with the airlines’ 156 aircrafts.
Most of the 36.2 million passengers taking advantage of the low-cost transportation service of Norwegian are Norwegians themselves, but Swedish and Spanish travelers also book flights with the airline. More than 70 percent of them purchase their tickets online.

Icelandair Group

The Icelandair Group does its best to unlock what Iceland has to offer to its customers: with its central location, Iceland is a convenient hub for flights between Europe and North America, which also turns Iceland and Kevlavik International Airport into a famous stopover destination. As a result, the Group’s nine subsidiaries focus mainly on operations in the international aviation and tourism sector. The Icelandair Group consists of two passenger airlines, a cargo airline, hotels, and has its own tour operators.
In 2019, the Icelandair Group employed roughly 4,700 full-time employees, of which about 3,450 were employees of the airline Icelandair. The revenue of the Icelandair Group is mostly generated by passenger transportation, with 1.2 billion U.S. dollars reported in 2019. Air cargo contributed roughly 58 million U.S. dollars in revenue.
In 2019, a total of 4.4 million passengers, of which roughly one half were transfer passengers, have been transported on international flights operated by the Icelandair Group. Those international flights had a load factor of 82 percent. The Icelandair Group is also responsible for domestic and regional flights which include flights in Iceland, to Greenland and Scotland with aircraft of the subsidiaries Icelandair and Air Iceland. Roughly 280 thousand passengers used the Group’s airlines to get from A to B on regional flights with a load factor of approximately 71 percent.
Passenger air transportation and air cargo, as well as the tourism business in Iceland generated over 1.5 million U.S. dollars in revenue in 2019.


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