SAS celebrates ‘best profitability’ since 1995

Nordic airline SAS has announced its pre-tax profits were 30 percent higher this summer than in 2014 and said it's celebrating its best July for a decade, after years of tough competition from budget carriers.

SAS celebrates 'best profitability' since 1995
SAS passengers at Copenhagen airport. Photo: TT
The company reported a pre-tax profit of 1.021 billion Swedish kronor ($118 million) between May and July, compared to 756 million in the same period last year.
The Scandinavian firm's President and CEO Rickard Gustafson said he was delighted that the airline had enjoyed such a “good summer”.
“In July we had the best profitability since 1995,” he explained.
“The improvement was primarily driven by our commercial success and the continued effects from our systematic efficiency initiatives.”
SAS also revealed on Tuesday that it had carried 2.4 million passengers in August, a small increase of 0.1 percent compared with July.

SAS planes at Stockholm's Arlanda airport. Photo: TT
The airline has focused on targeting frequent travellers in recent years and said it would continue to expand its services for Scandinavians seeking to visit the US on a regular basis.
“We have noted substantial demand from our frequent travellers for flights to the US and in 2016 we are expanding with three new routes: Los Angeles – Stockholm, Miami – Oslo and Miami – Copenhagen. At the beginning of September, we are also opening the new direct route between Stockholm and Hong Kong, which will be operated with SAS’s first new Airbus A330E,” announced Gustafson.
SAS, which is partially owned by the governments of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, has spent the past few years struggling in the face of growing competition from low cost airlines, including Ryanair and Oslo-based Norwegian, Europe's third-largest budget carrier.
The company announced a huge recovery plan in November 2012 which included redundancies, salary reductions and administrative cutbacks, with further cost-cutting plan initiatives unveiled in December 2014 
It has faced a number of scandals in 2015 including a strikes by pilots and claims of bullying by top bosses in Sweden.


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.