Air France-KLM is in advanced talks to increase its ownership of SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK, Copenhagen Kastrup) and gain a majority stake in the airline, the Franco-Dutch group’s CEO Benjamin Smith confirmed during an investors' call.

“We're very, very happy with how things worked out with SAS, with our 19% stake, with the exit of SAS from Star Alliance and our exclusive ability to go up to a controlling stake. So, we're already in deep talks,” he noted.

He went on to say that the company doesn’t expect any significant competition policy issues but that once the group does get a majority stake in SAS, some slots at Amsterdam Schiphol will have to be surrendered due to dominance on Scandinavia-bound routes. ch-aviation capacities data shows that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL, Amsterdam Schiphol) and SAS make up over 90% of the total seating capacity from Amsterdam Schiphol to airports in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

As a part of its alliance shift to Skyteam from Star Alliance, where it had been a founding member, SAS has started aligning its schedule with other SkyTeam members and will fly between Copenhagen and Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson, Delta Air Lines’ hub. In 2020, Air France, KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic announced a joint venture covering transatlantic services. Smith now hopes SAS will join the JV in due course.

SAS has been going through restructuring after filing for bankruptcy in July 2022. Besides the 19.9% owned by AF-KLM, other shareholders of the carrier are Castlelake which owns 31%, the Danish state with 25.8%, and entrepreneur Henrik Lind with 8.6%. AF-KLM said in October that it could become the controlling shareholder of SAS within two years.