Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will resume regular flights to Tokyo from June, becoming the 13th European airline to serve Tokyo this summer. Prior to the full relaunch, SAS will operate several flights over the Easter period to meet expected high holiday demand.
SAS’s long-haul network is still recovering from disruptions in recent years. The return to Tokyo is an important step in the recovery of the airline, which continues to face serious financial challenges under bankruptcy protection.
The restart is part of a busy summer schedule for SAS, which hopes to return to profitability in 2024.
Copenhagen to Tokyo
However, there are some changes in pre-pandemic norms. The relaunched route will fly from Copenhagen to Haneda instead of Narita.
Many travelers will see this as an improvement, as Haneda is much closer to central Tokyo and connected to the city’s vast subway system. Star Alliance partner airlines Air China, All Nippon Airways and Asiana operate at Haneda.
However, SAS will operate only three weekly flights instead of the expected seven. The flight time was increased to almost 14 hours due to problems with the airspace over Russia.
While the return of this route helps restore connectivity between Scandinavia and Asia, SAS’s capacity between the two regions is at just 22% of pre-pandemic levels, according to Simple Flying.
Flights using the Airbus A350 depart from Copenhagen on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 11.20am and arrive at 7.55am the following day. The flight departs from Narita at 11:45 and returns to Copenhagen at 18:40.
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, and The Points Guy called the seats “above average” for economy despite their slim design.
New-look summer schedule for SAS
The return of the flagship route from Scandinavia to Japan is a boost for Nordic-Japanese business and tourism, but SAS is not just bringing back old routes.
SAS is using its new Airbus A321LR on new routes from Newark to Gothenburg, Sweden and Aalborg, Denmark in a transition to a long-haul point-to-point model.
SAS 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, Majorca, Naples, Split and Sicily.
Erik Westman, EVP Networks and Revenue Management for SAS, said the airline “is seeing the desire to travel continue to grow.”
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