SAS prepares to slim down

Mats Jansson, who took over as President and CEO of SAS in November 2006, regards the company to be in much better condition now than it was a couple of years ago.

But Jansson, who is currently working on a new savings package, also concedes that the airline is “far from being financially balanced”.

SAS is set to present a new programme to improve profitability in May of this year.

“The aim is to improve full year profits by three billion kronor. This can be done by means of rationalisation, savings and streamlining,” Jansson told news agency TT.

He declined to comment on the numbers of employees that can expect to be laid off as a result of cutbacks.

SAS has just freed up over four billion kronor from the sale of its shares in the Rezidor Hotel Group. Jansson views the move as a necessary step towards strengthening the company’s balance sheet.

“There are no plans to make any changes to our aeroplane feet. That will not happen until after 2012,” said Jansson.

In the last year SAS has been hard hit by industrial conflicts with pilots and cabin crew, and there are fresh wage negotiations in the offing for 2007.

“I have met 2,000 employees since the end of last year, including trade union representatives.

“It appears to me that the trade unions have a firm grasp of the fact that SAS has to continue streamlining,” said Jansson.