I have noticed a lot of comments on SAS and other airlines in trouble, referring to "poor management", "reacted too slow", etc. etc.
See, that's the "funny" thing about SAS. Very few of the current management of SAS can be "painted' with that brush.
I tried a long time ago to start a thread about airline CEO's and their credibility and challenges. No one here reacted. Seeing KLM777's post, I thought I might try to bring some facts to the attention of A.netters again.
Mr. Lindegaard was headhunted to the job as CEO and President of SAS from a very successful career in other quite large Danish companies. He is the first Danish CEO and President in SAS' history. Something that has always bugged the Danes. In SAS CPH
, the ancronym SAS is often referred to as "Svensk Alt Sammen" (Danish for: It is all Swedish)
Lindegaard took up his new position with SAS on May 1st 2001. The following month, the European Commision fined SAS and Maersk Air for "fixing" prices. I believe it was the biggest fine ever issued. Lindegaard had, when he started a right hand man, Mr. Vagn Soerensen. Openly regarded as the "crown prince" of SAS. A very experienced airline industry exceutive, that was supposed to assist Lindegaard, with the integracies of the airline industry. Come late June 2001, Lindegaard realised that Soerensen had lied to him about his involvement in the "price fixing" scandal and therefore sacked him. Vagn Soerensen very quickly became CEO and President of Austrian Airlines and was this year appointed as President of the European Airlines association. That should say something about his credentials as an Airline Executive and so should the fact that Austrian is doing quite well in comparison to other Airlines. But, Lindegaard put more emphasis on the integrity of his right hand man and how his lying to him could affect the company and his credibility in his new role. RESPECT!!
In July 2001, the ENTIRE SAS board resigned, also as an effect of the "price fixing" scandal. So 3 months into the job, Lindegaard, with no previous airline experience, finds himself without his right hand man and faced with the challenge of finding a totally new board.
He gets on with it, only to be hit by 911, We all know what that did to the industry. But it doesn't stop here...... On October 8th 2001, SAS suffers it's worst ever accident when a SAS MD87 hits a Learjet that has strayed onto the runway in thick fog at Linate airport in Italy.
Now, after such first 6 months in a new job, I have often wondered if Lindegaard has not asked himself "why did I sign on the dotted line?"
But again, he got on with it!! Much has been said about airline managers and of SAS' sluggish response to the changes in the industry. Lindegaard was one of the first to point out to staff and to the public, that SAS themselves was mostly to blame for the trouble they were in.
He said quite a while back "SAS has not changed for the past 10-15 years. They think they have, but in reality they haven't. It is a classical example of what near monopoly can do to attitudes and thinking"
Now here's a man that has faced realities and is trying to do something about it. And still today he is there. Trying to save what by many is regarded as a national symbol of Scandinavia. The SAS concept was conceived in late '39 early '40, but due to WWII, could only be realised later. The cross border cooperation, regardless of nationality and culture is the essence of SAS. They made it work before UN, EU or NATO!!!
I am a SAS brat, so I know what "goodies" they had and to some extent still have. Furthermore do I work in the industry myself today, so I feel that I am qualified to say that ALL
employees in SAS needs to look for the long term good of the company and ultimately themselves. And realise that the world has changed and they need to do something. It is important they do so, because they have something special going. You try to go through trip reports or posts here on A.net and you will find that 80% are VERY positive about SAS and rightly so!!!
I had the pleasure of flying two SAS flights Thursday, the day that by Scandinavian press was named as Destiny Day for SAS. The board was meeting and....... all crew on the flight and on the ground carried out their duties impeccably and showed no frustration or disapproval. I happened to be on Sabena and other flights through BRU
in the last days of their existence and despite many posts here about the passion of Sabena's employees and how much they did, I am sorry to say... I never saw it. It was not the fault of Sabena's staff that they failed, absolutely not, but with their many strike actions in the last months, they certainly did not help the situation. I hope all SAS'ers realise that, and don't take the same route.
I think in Lindegaard, you have a guy that speaks the truth, no BS
The latest is "Plan B" just out tonight. If the target of 1.6 Billion SEK savings is not met. SAS will become a European regional carrier only. The BKK
route will be discontinued already from the start of the summer schedule in 2 weeks and all other intercontinental routes will be discontinued gradually as partners can be found to take them over..............
NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!!!!!
To all Scandinavians: FLY SCANDINAVIAN - IT IS
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Best of luck SAS