Sweden's air carriers, ABA (Aktiebolaget Aerotransport) & SLA (Svensk Intercontinental
Lufttraffik) merged with Norway's national air carrier DNL (Det Norske Luftfartselskap) and
Danish national air carrier, DDL (Danske Luftfartselskap AB) to form a new airline on
August 1, 1946 called OSAS (Overseas SAS). OSAS was renamed SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System).
After delivery of its first DC-6B early in 1952, on November 19, 1952 SAS made an
exploratory flight over the North Pole flying from Long Beach CA via Thule Greenland to
Copenhagen Denmark. The DC-6B became the first commercial airplane to fly over the Polar
Then on May 23, 1953 SAS's DC-6B piloted by chief pilot, Mikal Aschim made a commercial
flight round-the-world departing from Oslo Norway to Thule Greenland and onward westerly with
stops in Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Tokyo Japan, Manila Philippines, Bangkok Thailand, Karachi
Pakistan, Beirut Lebanon, Rome Italy, Frankfurt Germany, Copenhagen Denmark returning to Oslo
Norway on May 29, 1953. Carried on this flight were forty medical staff rotational personnel
to support NORMASH (Norwegian Mobile Army Surgical Hospital). The task of NORMASH was to
position itself behind the Korean War battle lines to give immediate first surgical treatment
to injured soldiers.
In 1954 SAS became the first airline to fly a scheduled route using the Polar shortcut,
with service between Copenhagen and Los Angeles. Acquisition of the longer range DC-7C in
1956 allowed SAS to offer nonstop operation over the Pole as far as Tokyo, making it the first
airline to operate a round-the-world route over Polar regions. On September 8, 1956 SAS
initiated its Royal Viking deluxe air service with fully reclineable seats.
On February 24, 1957 the "Guttorm Viking" took off from Copenhagen to Anchorage Alaska
and Tokyo. Simultaneously, the "Reidar Viking" departed from Tokyo. At 9:10 PM the two aircraft
met over the North Pole. The flying time from Scandinavia to Tokyo had been reduced from
52 hours to 32 hours. By tying together the southern route and the Polar route, SAS had earned
the right to put "FIRST OVER THE POLE AND AROUND THE WORLD" over the door on its DC-7C´s.
But a new era was coming closer - the jet age.