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Nordic governments back SAS for now

Roger Choate · 21 Feb 2010, 13:54

Published: 21 Feb 2010 10:27 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Feb 2010 13:54 GMT+01:00

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This followed on the heels of an announcement by Sweden that it hoped to reduce its ownership in SAS at a suitable point in time. Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson said a sale was not imminent, but in the long term the government saw no value in owning an airline.

SAS has been hit harder than many other carriers in the global recession because of high operational costs and competition. Industry analysts have long speculated a sale to Lufthansa or Air France KLM.

The three governments said they would support the $684 million rights issue to bolster the red-inked SAS balance sheet. Sweden has a 21.4% stake in SAS, while Denmark and Norway own 14.3% respectively. The remainder is privately held by Wallenberg family interests in Sweden, which has also agreed to subscribe to the rights issue.

Story continues below…

The governments formed SAS in 1946 to consolidate the Scandinavian markets.

Roger Choate (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:11 February 21, 2010 by Twiceshy
I fly 2 or 3 times a year to Sweden. Never, ever on SAS. I would fly them each year if their frequent flyer program were better. They have the worst program in the air and they do not seem to want anyone to fly SAS!
13:22 February 21, 2010 by Mb 65
This just throwing good money after bad. No wonder the service is so bad, they don't need to make the effort as they know they are going to get baled out by the tax payer.

I don't understand these governments they are trying to get people to fly less, and then they bale them out.
13:38 February 21, 2010 by Great Scott
Strange why is it the Swedish government is willing to bail out a crap airline which is about 50 years out of date and yet does not support Saab?
15:06 February 21, 2010 by Twiceshy
"high operational costs"

Why are costs so high? I can tell you why they are NOT high... they're not high because of exceptional service, that's for sure, actually SAS has pretty crappy service.

Great Scott it's not like Saab is profitable either... there has to be a reason why GM wanted to get rid of it (and ended up selling it to another unprofitable car company).
17:17 February 21, 2010 by Osk
Well Great Scott its because they are a shareholder.

Crazy spending peoples money on this
18:24 February 21, 2010 by morchad
time to pull the comfortable government cushion out from under that big lazy SASS :-)
18:33 February 21, 2010 by walterm
The first time I ever flew on a jet plane was an SAS DC-8 from New York to Copenhagen via Prestwick around 1960. It was one of my biggest thrills and I'll never forget the initial roar of the engines as we hurtled down the runway at IDL.
19:13 February 21, 2010 by dwgt1
Contrary to other commentators we try to fly SAS as much as possible when travelling from Edinburgh or London to Stockholm. Their service is much better than one gets on eg BA or Lufthansa and the cabin staff appear competent and friendly.
22:46 February 21, 2010 by Twiceshy
dwgt1 in my experience BA is not good, but Lufthansa is much better than SAS. For one thing, they actually give you food in regular economy class...
00:56 February 22, 2010 by Beavis
SAS need more cash from the governments to supplement their managements increasing pay cheques. The worse job they do, the more they get paid, and as the airline is so poorly run, the managemnt needs much more cash.

Other countries have "let go" or their failing national carriers and they have copped on very fast or gone out of business.
04:26 February 22, 2010 by JoeSwede
I don't know what the answer should be... but if every other job in Sweden has a tie to the governement, why shouldn't the airline jobs have the tie as well. I do find it interesting that the government does not think it needs an airline. Making it private is probably for the best but what happens when they fail?
13:09 February 22, 2010 by Mackan2017
I don't have any problems with SAS or BA. As a semi-regular flyer I use them both on the Stockholm-London route and, as with all flights, the earlier you book the cheaper it is. Every nationality likes to complain about their national carriers (I know French people that hate Air France and Germans that hate Lufthansa) but for me there's very little to choose between SAS & BA. They're both doing a fair job in the current financial situation.

But it's good to ask the question.....do Swedes really need to own a stake in their national airline? I'm not so sure.....
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