Scandinavian Airlines ( usually known as SAS, abbreviation of Scandinavian Airlines System ) was founded on August 1st, 1946, when Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik AB ( an airline owned by the Swedish Wallenberg family ), Det Danske Luftfartselskab A/S, and Det Norske Luftfartselskap AS ( the flag carriers of Denmark and Norway ) formed a partnership to handle the intercontinental air traffic of these three Scandinavian countries.
On September 17th, 1946, operations started under the new entity, the first international service was conducted between Stockholm ( Sweden ) and New York City ( New York, United States ). In 1948, the Swedish flag carrier AB Aerotransport joined SAS, quickly coordinated its European operations with the latter. Three years later, the companies formally merged to form the SAS Consortium.
During 1954, SAS became the first airline to commence scheduled flights on a polar route, flying Douglas DC - 6Bs from Copenhagen ( Denmark ) to Los Angeles ( California, United States ) with stops in Søndre Strømfjord ( now Kangerlussuaq, Greenland ) and Winnipeg ( Manitoba, Canada ). By summer 1956, traffic on the route had justified the frequency to be increased to three flights per week. The service proved relatively popular with Hollywood celebrities and members of the film industry, and the route turned out to be a publicity coup for SAS.
In 1959, SAS entered the jet age, having procured a number of French - built Sud - Aviation Caravelles as the company's first jetliner ( followed by the Douglas DC - 8 ). During 1971, the airline introduced its first Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet into service. In 1982, SAS was recognised as the most punctual airline operating in Europe at that time.
During the early 1990s, SAS unsuccessfully tried to merge itself with the Dutch airline KLM, along with Austrian Airlines and Swissair, in a proposed combined entity commonly called Alcazar. In May 1997, SAS became a founding member of the global Star Alliance network.
Today, the SAS fleet is composed of 135 aircraft ( Airbus and Boeing mostly ), and serves some 168 destinations.
( source : Wikipedia )