Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will resume regular flights to Tokyo from June, becoming the 13th European airline to serve Tokyo this summer. Before the full relaunch, SAS will operate a handful of flights over the Easter period to cater for an expected high holiday demand.
SAS’ long-haul network is still recovering from the past years’ disruption. A return to Tokyo is an important step on the road to the recovery for the airline, which is still facing serious financial challenges under bankruptcy protection.
The relaunch is part of a busy summer schedule for SAS, which hopes to return to profitability in 2024.
Copenhagen to Tokyo
There are some changes to the pre-pandemic norms, however. The relaunched route will fly from Copenhagen to Haneda instead of Narita.
Many travelers will see this as an improvement, as Haneda is considerably closer to downtown Tokyo and is connected to the city’s vast metro system. Star Alliance partner airlines Air China, All Nippon Airways and Asiana have operations at Haneda.
However, SAS will operate just three weekly flights instead of the expected seven. The flight time is increased to almost 14 hours because of airspace issues over Russia.
While the return of the route helps restore Scandinavia-Asia connectivity, SAS’ capacity between the two regions is at just 22% of pre-pandemic levels, according to Simple Flying.
Flights using an Airbus A350 will depart Copenhagen on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 11.20am arriving at 7.55am the following day. The flight returns from Narita at 11.45am, arriving back in Copenhagen at 6.40pm.
SAS typically operates its Airbus A350 with 300 passenger seats, including 40 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and 32 premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 configuration.
The 228 economy seats are offered in a 3-3-3 configuration, with The Points Guy calling the seats “above average” for economy despite their slimline design.
New-look summer schedule for SAS
The return of the flagship Scandinavia to Japan route is a boost for Nordic-Japan business and tourism, but SAS isn’t just bringing back old routes.
SAS is putting its new Airbus A321LR to use on new routes from Newark to Gothenburg in Sweden and Aalborg in Denmark in a shift to a more point-to-point long-haul model.
SAS had previously announced 20 new routes within Scandinavia and to/from Europe for this summer. It has now announced 10 more, and increased frequency on popular leisure routes including Alicante, Florence, Malaga, Mallorca, Naples, Split and Sicily.
Erik Westman, EVP network and revenue management for SAS, said the airline is “seeing the desire to travel continuing to rise.”