SAS positive despite continued loss

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The troubled Scandinavian airline SAS has posted a first quarter loss of 1.3 billion kronor. That is an improvement on the 1.5 billion kronor loss for the same period last year but worse than analysts were expecting.


Nevertheless, Anders Ehrling, managing director of the Swedish branch of SAS, remained upbeat and reported a good start to the second quarter.

"The year's first quarter is normally a weak period for airlines," he said in a press release. "The launch of the new domestic flights took place in March and April and has gone very well."

As part of its 'Turnaround 2005' restructuring programme, SAS plans to cut costs by 14 billion kronor, allowing it to compete with the influx of low fares airlines.

So far, consumers have benefited. In March SAS announced that it was making available 300,000 one-way tickets at 450 kronor each. The company reported that in the first three weeks 100,000 tickets were sold.

The group's total operating revenue increased by 3.6% to 13 billion kronor and passenger numbers were up 0.8% to 7.3 million.


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