Aviator expands market presence with SAS startups in Norway


Following a previously secured agreement with Scandinavian Airlines in late July 2020, Aviator Airport Alliance AB successfully launched the start-up of ground handling operations for the airline across multiple airports in Norway. Over the next 5-year period, commencing February 1st, 2021, Aviator will be the provider of ground handling and de-icing services for SAS at the airports in Bergen, Tromso, and Kristiansand. These 3 new collaborations come as a valuable addition to the previously established SAS/Aviator partnership at Bardufoss airport.

As a full-range provider of aviation services across 15 airports in the Nordic region, the operational start-up of ground handling services provision by Aviator was initiated simultaneously at the three airports. The extensive preparation from Aviator to position its teams and equipment to meet the demand and relative size of SAS’ operations have resulted in the profound success of the start-up.

As testimony to this success, Tomas Holm, SAS Head of airport Operations East Europe, Finland, Norway, the Baltics, and Russia offered a statement: “On the 1st of February, Aviator Airport Alliance AS took over ground handling for SAS at an additional 3 line stations in Norway; Tromso, Bergen, and Kristiansand – these are in addition to Bardufoss where we have shared exceptional cooperation for many years. Despite restrictions limiting the possibility of my being on-site to meet the staff and monitor operations, I followed all procedures remotely. I highly commend this impressive start with Aviator, pointing out that all KPIs were met or even exceeded. Despite the current harsh winter weather conditions being experienced in Norway, it is good to report that all operations have gone particularly well. Additionally, the communication from Aviator management and staff has been both seamless and efficient. I must highlight the fact that due to the commitment of, and preparations completed by the Aviator‘s team in advance, I was confident Aviator would not let us down, but, deliver a safe and punctual product that meets our expectations. We look forward to a continued and fruitful partnership in the years to come.“

Robert Andersen, Aviator Station Manager at Bergen outlined the developments stating, “Over 3,000 man-hours have been utilised in preparation for the ramp, passenger service, and de-icing operations for this start-up. The magnitude of the SAS-contract has tested every aspect of our skills and capabilities when factoring in scenarios like heavy snow, extremely cold temperatures, irregularities, late incoming traffic, and missed connections. Our team’s commitment to the ground handling start-up with a high level of professional skill and execution has resulted in a smooth and fine-tuned start of SAS procedures.” Adding to the preparations, Maria Botolfsen-Knutsen, Aviator Station Manager at Kristiansand commented, “After a month of intense staff training and preparations, we were finally up and running with SAS on the 1st of February. The very first aircraft was on the ground overnight and we had plenty of time to install Aviator’s equipment, leading to our first de-icing procedure with the airline. SAS has chosen KRS as a pilot station for testing a new BRS system and KRS is the first station in Norway to implement this new system.”

Detailing the procedures at Tromso Airport, Kurt Jensen, Aviator Station Manager at Tromso, stated, “The winter of 2021 came to Tromso with full force and the 1st of February successfully marked the start of our handling operations with SAS. After spending an enormous amount of time planning and training to establish a firm foundation for the start-up, our TOS station was well prepared for the size and demand that comes with our new customer – Scandinavian Airlines. All the staff on the station and the Aviator network involved in the start-up were a vital part of the success at TOS. All flights were on schedule from the very first day, thanks to the tenacity, dedication, and efforts of the Aviator Team in the City of the Northern Lights.”

Expanding on the station operations in Norway, Per Wassberg, Aviator Managing Director Norway added, “This SAS contract entailing operations at four stations in Norway is a significant milestone in our company’s history. It not only diversifies our customer portfolio but eliminates vulnerabilities and dependencies found in a lack of customer diversification in uncertain market environments such as those induced by the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, we are delighted to handle SAS at BGO, TOS, KRS, and BDU stations in which de-icing procedures are included in our list of services provided for the airline at TOS and KRS.”

The agreement strengthens Aviator’s previous relations with the airline in which the provision of ground handling services in Sweden, at both Landvetter and Malmo airports, came into operation from September 1st, 2020. Because of this, the developments in Norway broadens Aviator’s presence as a leading ground handling provider in the Nordic market, and aligns with the company’s focus on expansion and introducing further services in the region. The success of the start-up highlights the company’s capabilities to cater and ensure a smooth procedural start across different market locations for a large scale of operations.

Jo Alex Tanem, CEO of Aviator, addressed the start-up of the successful operation stating, “The start-up with SAS in Norway is a huge part of our foundation for a profitable future going into 2021. It was of utmost importance that we executed operations perfectly. The sound preparation and effort from our Norwegian team has resulted in Aviator delivering an exceptional outcome across all Norwegian stations, reinforcing our client’s faith in our capabilities. The feedback we’ve received from SAS Group Management makes me immensely proud of our team. Together with the substantial support from our sole shareholder, Avia Solutions Group, Aviator remains on track with our growth and expansion plans and this development positions us to further broaden our presence in the market.”

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