SAS profits triple in second quarter

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) reported a threefold surge in second quarter net earnings to 449 million kronor (53.6 million euros, 66 million dollars) from 147 million kronor in the same period last year.

The performance exceeded expectations, as analysts polled by the research group SME Direkt forecast second quarter net profit of 361 million kronor.

Operating profit increased four-fold to 949 million kronor from 251 million, with operating margins rising to 5.9 percent from 1.7 percent.

For the first half the company had an operating loss of 99 million kronor compared with a loss of 1.006 billion a year earlier.

Sales grew by 874 million kronor to 16.017 billion.

SAS attributed the improved results to cost savings, ticket price increases and fuel hedges, which more than offset increased fuel costs.

“Despite substantial increases in oil prices during the first half of the year and an increase in costs for the SAS Group of approximately 700 million kronor, the Group was able to compensate for this through continued cost efficiency enhancements, yield control and fuel hedges,” it said.

SAS said the airline market was still characterized by overcapacity and price pressure but added that it was sticking to its future targets.

“Developments during the quarter and in July, as well as expectations for the months ahead, do not indicate any significant variances from plan,” the carrier said.



‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.