As a child of the 1960s one grew up to view commercial aviation, with its fares usually beyond the reach of ordinary incomes, the pinnacle of modern civilisation – with an air (pun slightly intended) of unattainable luxury.
Considering that Norway wasn’t exactly the hub of international commerce, and still isn’t, our knowledge of commercial airlines usually limited itself to the Scandinavian airline SAS and Braathens, of which the latter later absorbed by the former.
Personally I always had a soft spot for the idea behind the SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System, nowadays just Scandinavian Airlines), an airline jointly owned by the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian states, serving as one out of many factors reinforcing the already strong ties between Scandinavian countries – ties that have long since diminished, perhaps as a result of globalism – a development I applaud strongly, too, even if I’m sad to see Scandinavian ties diminish.
Be that as it may, I never intended this post as an introduction to Scandinavian relations, but as a reflection over the primordial demise of a once dominating airline, based on observations made as I pass on travel and hospitality news on a daily basis, partly based on press releases issued by the industry’s various participants.
Insofar that a company’s amount of news, manifested in its number of press releases, speaks for its development, monthly issues (at least in Norwegian, which is what I need) related to the company’s history – or a musician entertaining passengers, doesn’t bode very well for the SAS, especially when its nemesis, the Norwegian Air Shuttle, pours out news on the company’s apparently insatiable expansion.
To such a degree that the now 25-year-old (founded in 1993) bad-boy contender just recently passed the SAS, in terms of passenger figures.
Arguably public relations, or rather the apparent lack thereof, serve as indicators, but we all know that failure to keep the public informed, among other things of one’s mere existence, does little to improve passenger figures.
I mean, WTF, SAS!? I had you down as a major player in the industry. So give me your press releases, please – and above all: issue them. If nothing else, for your own sake. At present you come across as severely understaffed, and quite honestly that can’t be good.
To put all of this in its right perspective, I’d like to draw your attention to an interview the then SAS CCO gave me some five years ago, which makes an interesting read in this context: Please see pages 13–15.
Scandinavia may be history, as a homogeneous entity, at least. It would appear that it includes the one-time giant of the skies.
Having said that, one would of course hope that aviation in general reverted to the traffic figures (and ticket prices!) of yesteryears, for the benefit of the climate and our common future, if not for the spoilt twice-or-thrice-a-year holidaymakers of the affluent west.
But that’s an entirely different story altogether.
Top illustration: SAS tail, painted by blogger.