SAS just made an announcement that it will take over all of its Blue1 subsidiary’s commercial operations in Finland. Blue1 continues to operate but all the flights will be sold as SAS ones and converted from KF flight numbers to SK ones.
The airline started its’ life as Air Botnia serving regional airports to/from Helsinki. The airline run into financial problems and SAS bought it in the late 1990’s. It was rebranded as Blue1 in early 2000’s and joined the Star Alliance in 2004. Lately, the airline’s mission has been to connect Finnish cities with SAS’s hubs in Stockholm and Copenhagen. The airline has continued to operate some domestic and international routes as well. I have flown on Air Botnia and Blue1 several times.
This latest move by SAS will, in essence, mean that the airline is just a subcontractor to SAS. The tickets will be sold by SAS using SAS flights numbers but the flights will be operated still by Blue1. It is interesting to see if they are going to paint the planes on SAS color scheme as well. Blue1 has used SAS’s Eurobonus as its’ frequent flyer program.
It is always sad to see an airline brand to disappear, although in this case the airline continues to operate. SAS has had its own profitability problems as of late that they hopefully are able to work out.