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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

Austrian Airlines’ boss warns of price hike for flight tickets

Travellers from Austria face a rise in the cost of flight tickets, Austrian Airlines CEO Annette Mann has warned, as well as travel headaches caused by staff shortages at airports abroad.

Austrian Airlines' boss warns of price hike for flight tickets

Increasing fuel costs will make flight ticket prices more expensive just ahead of the summer holidays, Austrian Airlines boss Annette Mann told Ö1-Morgenjournal on Friday.

She said tickets are expected to rise by “a few euros” for short flights but by €50 to €100 on longer distances. Travellers will continue to see increased ticket prices all throughout 2023 and possibly longer, according to the executive.

However, the airliner is not suffering from a shortage of personnel problems that affected several companies, including its parent company Lufthansa.

READ ALSO: Strikes and queues: How airline passengers in Europe face summer travel chaos

This is due to the short-time work (Kurzarbeit) program in Austria, which provided financial assistance to companies that did not cut jobs during the pandemic.

However, she mentioned that a “summer Covid wave” could affect personnel numbers, given people will need to take sick leave if they get infected. Still, Mann said that Austrian Airlines hired 150 new people as cabin crew to deal with the high demands on air travel.

‘We are dependent on other airports’

She did alert that, despite the company having enough personnel, they depend on the situation in other airports. “If there are delays or missing luggage in other airports, we might be affected by that”, Mann said.

The statements are in line with what Austrian airport operators have already said, as The Local has reported.

“In Vienna, our partners and ourselves succeeded, particularly through the instrument of short-time work, to keep as many personnel as possible in employment. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case at many other airports we also serve,” explained Austria Airlines spokeswoman Sophie Matkovits.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Even though airports and Austrian airlines are fully operational, they are not solely responsible for the flights. Furthermore, the companies stress that local operators can’t influence the situation at other airport locations.

Vienna Airport recommends checking the flight status and planning more time than usual for departure on intense travel days.

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