SAS has become the latest European carrier to go for one-way fares on its short-haul route network, following in the footsteps of Aer Lingus and the UK’s bmi. The Irish flag carrier became the first network major to follow the example of low-cost players and offer cheaper one-way fares, and do away with the much-hated saturday night stopover restrictions.
It is the markets where low-cost competition is at its fiercest – Ireland, the UK and Scandinavia – where the legacy carriers have been forced to response first. British Airways, after initial reluctance, began offering them in the early summer. Although both Air France and Lufthansa say they have no plans to follow suit, how long can they, and others, hold out against simple old market demand and the move to one-way fares goes from being a trickle to a flood?