SAS leads flight boom

Sweden’s airline industry is booming, with passenger traffic on Scandinavian airline SAS increasing 15.5 percent in December.

The success at SAS was reflected in figures from the Swedish state airport operator, LFV, which showed the number of passengers passing through its airports up 5 percent in 2005.

The number of passengers on SAS increased by 15.5 percent in December compared with the same month in 2004. Overall, passenger numbers were up 6.8 percent for the whole of 2005, compared with the previous year.

The company’s all-important load factor, which measures the proportion of seats filled, rose 2.8 percent to 66.5 percent for the full year.

SAS’s yield, however, was down 4.9 percent in November compared with the same month in 2004.

In a statement accompanying the figures, the company said that there was still overcapacity on the market, despite some signs of a reduction. High fuel prices and continued tough competition made prospects uncertain, the statement added.

SAS Sverige, the company’s Swedish subsidiary, reported load factors up to 64.8 percent on domestic services and 65.8 on European services. But low-cost competitor FlyMe saw larger increases, with a load factor 67.5 percent.

“We are seeing very positive developments for domestic traffic in Sweden despite the tough competition,” said SAS Sweden’s Susanne Dahlberg.

TT/The Local


‘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.