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SAS Boeing 737 (photo: © Thorbjørn Brunander Sund, danishaviationphoto.com)

SAS upgrades after a strong quarter

The Scandinavian airline expects to do well this year after a strong quarter – but also apologises for the many recent delays.

The third quarter of the financial year from May to July has developed so satisfactorily for SAS that it is now upgrading its expectations for the year.

If all goes well, the airline will come out of the fiscal year with an operating profit before tax and one-off costs of SEK 2 billion (€190 million). This is evidenced by an upward revision announced by SAS this morning in its report for the third quarter.

Previously, SAS had guided a primary result of between SEK 1.5 and 2 billion.

The upward adjustment is partly due to the fact that SAS has done exceptionally well specifically in the third quarter. Revenues rose by 7% to slightly more than SEK 13.1 billion, and the primary operating result was just below SEK 2 billion. This is SEK 115 million better than the same quarter last year.

The strong result was in a quarter where SAS felt headwinds in terms of rising fuel prices, imbalances between the Swedish krona and the US dollar as well as increased production costs due to many delays and cancellations.

Apology for delays
Addressing the latter issue, CEO Rickard Gustafson explained that the reasons for the delays were lack of flight crews, technical conditions, delays in European air traffic services and delayed delivery of new Airbus aircraft.

“I apologise to the affected passengers for any inconvenience and would like to thank our employees for their dedication to our customers,” he said.

Another issues that affects the quarterly report is the Norwegian state’s sale of the remaining shareholding in SAS AB. Here, the SAS CEO used the chance to stress that he was in no way planning to turn his back on the Norwegian market.

“I would like to emphasise that it does not entail any change in SAS’s strategy or the focus on the Scandinavian market, including Norway,” he said.

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