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SAS ‘fighting for survival’ as Nordic airline’s shares plunge

Stocks in Scandinavian airline SAS tumbled on Monday after its chief executive said the company was fighting for its survival and must cut costs.

SAS aircraft on the tarmac in Copenhagen in May 2020. The airline is fighting for survival, its CEO said in an interview on October24th.
SAS aircraft on the tarmac in Copenhagen in May 2020. The airline is fighting for survival, its CEO said in an interview on October24th. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

“When I see what the market looks like today, how our clients are changing, and the size of our debt, it’s absolutely clear that we have to do things very differently,” Anko Van der Werff, who took over as CEO in July, told Danish business newspaper Finans late Sunday.

“It is a fight to change SAS so that we have a future.”

SAS is currently facing several problems, including a permanent drop in business travel and costly collective labour agreements, he said.

Van der Werff said he had summoned the main unions for three months of negotiations aimed at cutting costs and increasing flexibility.

“This requires understanding and willingness from everyone… SAS needs to be competitive so we can survive, grow, and create jobs,” he said.

In early afternoon trading on Monday, the SAS share price had lost 14 percent on the Stockholm stock exchange.

The ailing airline cut 5,000 jobs last year — representing 40 percent of its workforce — and announced in May this year a credit line of three billion kronor ($350 million) from the Danish and Swedish governments, its main shareholders, to get through the crisis.

That aid came on top of a first line of credit for the same amount and a capital increase in 2020.

READ ALSO: Virus-stricken airline SAS secures new public loan from Denmark and Sweden

Member comments

  1. I was just wondering last week when I was in Copenhagen why SAS doesn’t join forces with Icelandair and Finnair and merge into a new company called Nordic Air. Together they may be stronger.

    1. Because a 3 country airline is a basket case to run !…….let alone a one country airline.
      Trust me…..I’m a pilot.
      Then, I can’t imagine the Finns or the Icelanders to see the name of their countries vanish ……Nordic sounds really cheap.
      Airlines ……legacy airlines carry a hell of a lot history……a thing people tend to forget and airline employees are very proud of……I know…..I am

    2. SAS is a proud, historic name. Perhaps, the public should hear Scandinavian Airlines System more than SAS. The airline does appear to have a monopoly on SFO-CPH non stop currently, with the disappearance of Norwegian airlines. Route structure and aircraft type are really critical nowadays.

    3. So Bruno and David prefer to see an airline which is going bust but at least they keep their legacy name? It is a commercial necessity to merge with other airlines. All over Europe airlines have merged to survive.

  2. I was shocked to see our SAS Business Class — SFO-CPH — A350 about half full on our round trip flights.

    Of course, the full price tickets were about $7500.

    Hope SAS survives — and lowers fares.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Copenhagen Airport passengers warned of more queues on holiday weekends

Long queues were reported at Copenhagen Airport during last week’s extended public holiday weekend and similar issues are likely during two more upcoming holidays.

Copenhagen Airport passengers warned of more queues on holiday weekends

Staff shortages at security checks, caused by a lengthy rehiring process following the Covid-19 crisis, have been blamed for crowds and long queues at Copenhagen Airport during peak times this spring.

Long waiting times at security were reported both Thursday and Sunday at Copenhagen Airport, resulting in a significant number of passengers missing flights, broadcaster DR writes.

The airport’s commercial director Peter Krogsgaard told DR that Copenhagen is not alone in experiencing problems with queues.

“Copenhagen Airport and all airports in Europe have had a lot to do in re-hiring and training many employees after corona,” Krogsgaard said.

“We are therefore seeing that, now passengers are coming back and fortunately want to travel again, we are under a bit of pressure to begin with,” he said.

This means that passengers planning to travel during two more upcoming peak times – the public holidays on Ascension Day (Thursday May 26th) and Pentecost (Monday June 6th) – should brace themselves for lengthy queues at the airport.

Up to 70,000 passengers are expected during the first of the two public holidays, according to Copenhagen Airport.

“We expect to be very busy and are therefore advising all passengers travelling within Europe to arrive two hours before their flight. If you are going to outside of Europe, to the Unites States or Asia, you should come three hours before,” Krogsgaard told DR.

Passengers have few options should they miss flights due to long waits at security, a consumer rights consultant said to DR.

“You are in a very bad situation if you get to the airport too late in relation to the waiting times there actually are at security, because it’s your own responsibility to get to the airport in time to make the flight,” Vagn Jelsøe, senior consultant with the Danish Consumer Council (Forbrugerrådet Tænk), said to DR.

The airport expects to be fully staffed by the beginning of June, DR reports.

“Since January, we’ve done nothing other than hire a lot of new people and they must be trained and educated, and it takes some time for them to get to the security lanes,” Krogsgaard also said.

Airline SAS last week said it would cancel around 4,000 flights over the summer. The decision was made due to staff shortages combined with delayed deliveries of new aeroplanes, SAS said.

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