SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK, Copenhagen Kastrup) sees the potential to "substantially grow" its fleet of E195s operated through the SAS Link subsidiary and is now evaluating how to combine this growth with the wet-leased smaller regional fleet, Vice-President (Network) Henrik Winell said during the recent Routes Europe conference, as reported by Aviation Week.

"We are looking at the future model for us for growing that fleet, and we see substantial growth in this platform," he said. "It’s not concluded yet, but we would definitely like to grow the Link fleet. We see massive potential in that one. Whether we want to plug in another smaller-gauge aircraft operated by a wet-lease provider, let us see."

The regional subsidiary currently operates ten E195s, the ch-aviation fleets module shows. Winell did not say how many E195s the airline could eventually operate, other than hinting it would be fewer than its narrowbody fleet, currently numbering 90 aircraft (including three A321-200NX(LR)s sourced for thinner long-haul routes).

"If we were to plug in another fleet type, that would be on another platform, but most likely on a wet-lease platform. I don’t foresee that Link would operate an ATR - Avions de Transport Régional/CRJ and Embraer aircraft," the VP said.

SAS has historically outsourced its regional operations and continues to wet-lease six ATR72-600s and seven CRJ900s from Xfly (Estonia), and a further fifteen CRJ900s from CityJet. Winell explained that evaluations were ongoing on how to combine the wet-leased types with Link's E195s going forward.

Meanwhile, in a separate keynote at Routes Europe, SAS Chief Executive Anko van der Werff said that the airline will rework its North American network to focus more on Skyteam hubs instead of Star Alliance ones, as it moves ahead with its alliance transfer following the acquisition of a 19.9% stake by Air France-KLM.

"You will see over the course of time that we will gradually untangle our Star Alliance network and connectivity in North America and beyond. We will really build up Skyteam," van der Werff said.

The airline plans to focus on New York JFK instead of New York Newark and sees Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson as "effectively replacing" Chicago O'Hare.