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SAS to boost capacity – reveals first quarterly profit since 2019

SAS
© SAS

Scandinavian Airlines () is now looking to ramp-up winter capacity this year, having posted its first quarterly pretax profit since late 2019. This has been achieved through a combination of lower fuel costs, higher ticket prices and strong demand. SAS has been under since July 2022, but has achieved a pretax profit of SEK457 million for the 2023 third quarter to July 31, This is in comparison to an SEK1.99 billion loss in the same period in 2022.

“We still have a lot of work ahead of us with our transformation to secure long-term competitiveness, but I consider this a clear sign that we are on the right track,” Anko van der Werff said in a statement.

“We continue our ramp-up and will increase capacity this winter … We also noted strong ticket sales throughout the third quarter, indicating a healthy underlying demand for travel despite a more uncertain economic outlook,” van der Werff added, without giving any specific details of planned capacity increases.

The third quarter includes the greater part of the Nordic summer, which is normally usually one of the airline's most profitable periods, together with its August to October fourth quarter. According to Reuters news agency, Sydbank analyst Jacob Pedersen said the earnings were roughly SEK1,000 million up on his expectations of SEK326 million, due to la smaller currency impact than anticipated.

The beleaguered Nordic carrier has struggled to recover after the COVID-19 pandemic, while labour issues, travel disruption and high costs have hampered efforts to swiftly complete its restructuring process.

SAS is part of the SAS Group with hubs in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm- Arlanda. It currently has a fleet of 128 aircraft, serving a total of 168 destinations. The airline filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States on 5 July 2022.

In September 2022, the carrier announced it was returning at least ten aircraft to lessors, including five long-haul aircraft – amongst them two barely two-year-old A350s. This measure was a result of the closure of Russian airspace for flights to Asia which had caused a plummet in demand and dramatically effected efficiency. (£1.00 = 13.90SEK at time of publication).

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