2019 – an innovative year for SAS

2019 has seen dramatic changes in the travel sector, not least when it comes to sustainability. This is why SAS has been working hard to develop and implement new innovations.

Throughout 2019, SAS has focused on two key areas of innovation: sustainability and digitalization. These are perhaps also the biggest areas of interest for innovators. No wonder, then, that they were hot topics at this year’s SXSW Festival in March in Austin, Texas.

Mattias Forsberg, Head of Digital Innovation at SAS, was there to learn more about current trends in the aviation industry. Some of the key ideas he brought back included how SAS can optimize its services for travelers across various platforms and how to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the best way. This, he explained, related to why SAS is gradually rolling out its chatbot and digital travel companion Turi, who works through AI. 

Another hot topic at SXSW was the arrival of autonomous and electric vehicles and the changing nature of travel generally.  

In May, SAS announced that it would be partnering with Airbus to develop electric aircraft. “This, and the cooperation between SAS and Swedish fuel companies to accelerate biofuel manufacturing, is an innovation that will have the biggest impact on more sustainable aviation,” Forsberg says. 

“More sustainable aviation is a priority for SAS and one that will only be achieved through innovation,” Forsberg adds. “Technical and digital innovation will help us to achieve more sustainable aviation by enabling us to accelerate development and use technology as a catalyst for faster conversion.”

As well as longer-term projects, SAS also continued the development of many shorter-term innovations in 2019 to help reduce carbon emissions. These include green flights to optimize fuel consumption, the reduction of weight on aircraft and the use of more efficient catering services that reduce waste.
“Transportation is going to change dramatically,” says Forsberg. “But SAS was founded with innovation hard-wired into its philosophy. That’s why in a few years’ time, whether you’re virtually traveling the world from your living room, receiving your shopping via a drone or reading the inflight magazine on a platform we haven’t even thought of yet, SAS will still be making life easier for Scandinavia’s true travelers.” 

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