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SAS now cheapest on several European routes

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SAS now cheapest on several European routes
16:25 CEST+02:00
Scandinavian airline SAS has the cheapest airfares to several destinations in Europe and is on par with budget airlines such as Norwegian and Ryanair, new figures show.

SAS now has the cheapest fares on seven out of 29 routes surveyed in the most recent edition of Swedish airfare index Svenskt Flygprisindex, which is published by travel website Travelmarket.se and measures ticket prices from airports in Sweden and Denmark to ten popular destinations in Europe.

Previously, low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, Norwegian, and EasyJet were cheaper than SAS, but now the troubled Scandinavian airline has managed to keep up with the competition on some routes.

"There are indications that SAS has succeeded in lowering its costs with new routes and competitive agreements," Travelmarket.se CEO Ole Stouby said in a statement.

"That's going to benefit consumers in the long run, as low-cost airlines will hardly sit idly by when they see that SAS is trying to regain lost market share."

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After tough negotiations last autumn that helped the company avoid bankruptcy, SAS has lowered its costs substantially and can use its personnel more effectively, according to Jacob Pedersen, an airline industry analyst with Danish bank Sydbank.

"Staffing costs have dropped and efficiency has risen. By lowering ticket prices, they're better able to fill their planes. They are probably able to earn money at the same time," he told the TT news agency.

Pedersen added that Norwegian's plans to introduce intercontinental flights will put "enormous pressure" on ticket prices should its efforts succeed.

According to Travelmarket.se, Prague is one of several European destinations where SAS ticket prices come in lower than the competition, landing an average of 10 percent lower than prices with Norwegian.

SAS routes to major European cities like Amsterdam, Rome, and Paris have also become cheaper.

SAS is expected to open 50 new routes in 2013, including nine from Arlanda and three from Landvetter in Gothenburg.

The ten cities included in the Svenskt Flygprisindex include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Rome, and Vienna.

TT/The Local/dl

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