Swedish airline to be sold for one krona

The owners of Swedish budget airline Skyways have announced plans to sell the carrier for one krona ($0.14) amid continuing economic problems.

The airline will be sold to Skyways Express AB CEO, Lars-Åke Bertilsson, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newpaper reports.

“Airlines have generally never been an overly lucrative industry,” Staffan Salén, board chair of parent company Skyways Holding AB, told DN.

Salén’s family, which rose to prominence during the 1990s from holdings in the shipping industry, have had a controlling stake in Skyways since the mid-1980s.

By the late 1990s, Skyways was Sweden’s largest domestic airline with 500 employees. Since then, the airline has been hit by several rounds of layoffs and wage freezes.

At the start of this year, the airline was split into two companies: Skyways Express AB, which covers airline operations; and Skyways AB, which includes the company’s marketing, sales, and brand management functions.

Around the same time, the troubled Scandinavian carrier SAS sold its 25 percent stake in Skyways.

Today Skyways Expresss has about 50 pilots and a total of 200 employees who will be affected by the sale.

According to Skyways AB CEO Peter Browall, his company won’t be affected by the sale, meaning customers won’t notice any changes.

“We’re going to continue to purchase airline services from Skyways Express,” he told the TT news agency.

Skyways primarily serves business travelers flying to small- and medium-sized cities in Sweden, functioning as a feeder airline to the country’s larger airports.

“It’s a tough challenge when the economy is hit so hard,” said Browall.

As a result, Skyways has been forced to make some adjustments.

“But we don’t plan on making any more cuts,” he said.

Last year, Skyways posted after-tax profits of 7 million kronor ($1 million), a far cry from the 50 million kronor the airline earned in 2007.

According to DN, there will likely be more cuts for the new airline operator, which will be called Avia Express, but the new owner has yet to announce any concrete plans.

“As to what exactly I plan to do, I’ll get back to you when they’re finished,” Bertilsson told DN.

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