The airline has admitted that what could have been a good month turned out to be a very weak one.
During the recent week-long strike at SAS, almost all of the airline’s pilots in Denmark, Sweden and Norway stopped work between April 26 and May 2 after unsuccessful talks on salaries and working conditions.
Around 4,000 flights were cancelled during the seven days of the strike, affecting over 380,000 passengers.
Over 2,800 of these flights were cancelled and nearly 270,000 customers affected during the first five days, resulting in weak traffic figures in April, the airline has revealed.
Ahead of the strike, the airline maintains that traffic figures for April “were showing good development” compared to last year. But the conflict resulted in sharp declines in both scheduled capacity and number of passengers, down 14.9% and 14.5%, respectively.
“I deeply apologise to our customers who were affected by the pilot strike and couldn’t travel as planned,” said Rickard Gustafson, the airline’s chief executive.
“Although a large number of colleagues at SAS have worked day and night to help those affected, I recognise that we have not been able to assist everyone in this difficult situation. Now that the strike is over, we will do our outmost to restore the trust of our customers.”
Load factor up
In total, some 2,156,000 passengers flew SAS during the month of April, down 14.5% year-on-year. But on the routes that did operate, load factor rose by 1.8% to 74.8%.
Traffic growth measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPK, also declined, by 11.2%.
Rival carrier Norwegian saw 3% more passengers, rising to 3,137,608, though it is unclear how much of this was a result of the strike.