SAS orders fifty A320 planes as fortunes improve

SAS said on Tuesday that it had ordered 50 Airbus A320-neos for its short and medium-haul routes, a sign of improving fortunes for the Scandinavian carrier after some difficult years.

SAS orders fifty A320 planes as fortunes improve
SAS planes in an airport in Norway. Photo: Gorm Kallestad NTB/Scanpix/TT
Thirty-five of the planes will be bought directly from Airbus. They have a list price, before discounts agreed between SAS and Airbus, of just under $4 billion (3.2 billion euros), the airline said in a statement. The other 15 aircraft will be leased.
SAS already has 17 Airbus A320neos in service from a previous order for 30 Airbus A320neos. The new order means SAS will have at least 80 Airbus A320neos in service by 2023, SAS said. The purchase will enable it to have a single-type fleet by 2023.
The leased planes will be delivered from the spring of 2019 through 2021, while the remaining 35 are scheduled to be delivered directly by Airbus by 2023.
In a bid to reduce costs, SAS has in recent years aimed to simplify its fleet. It now has two aircraft types in service within Europe, compared to six in 2012.
“In line with the deliveries of the new Airbus A320neos, SAS will begin phasing out its Boeing 737 and the existing Airbus A320 aircraft,” it said.
The order also includes options for an additional five A320neos, the carrier said.
After experiencing several challenging years amid fierce competition from low-cost rival Norwegian Air Shuttle, SAS is now on the mend.
At the end of its fiscal year in October, the company posted a pre-tax profit, excluding one-off items, of almost 2.0 billion kronor ($239 million, 196.7 million euros).


SAS announces reduced loss and pins hopes on summer flights

Scandinavian airline SAS narrowed its losses in the second quarter, the company said Thursday, as it set its hopes on an easing of coronavirus restrictions this summer.

SAS announces reduced loss and pins hopes on summer flights
A SAS aircraft taking off in Paris. Photo: Charles Platiau/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The earnings report came a day after the governments of Sweden and Denmark announced another round of aid to the ailing carrier.

From February to April, SAS booked a net loss of 2.43 billion Swedish kronor ($292 million, 240 million euros) — 30 percent smaller than in the second quarter last year.

The company also reported an improved operating profit “for the first time since the pandemic’s outbreak, both year-on-year and compared with the previous quarter,” pointing to its cost cutting efforts.

However, the number of passengers in the period declined by 140,000 compared to the first quarter, to 857,000.

This caused revenue to fall to 1.93 billion kronor, a 15 percent drop from the preceding quarter and 63 percent from a year earlier.

“The increase in vaccination rates provides some hope for the relaxation of restrictions, and an increase in demand ahead of the important summer season,” chief executive Karl Sandlund said in a statement.

However, the CEO also noted that “many customers are now increasingly choosing to book their tickets much closer to their travel dates, which makes it difficult to predict demand during the summer.”

SAS also said it expected claims from passengers of up to 150 million kronor after a European court ruled in March that customers should be compensated over disruptions due to a pilots’ strike in 2019.

After cutting 5,000 jobs last year — representing 40 percent of its workforce — SAS announced Wednesday an additional credit line of three billion kronor from the Danish and Swedish governments, its main shareholders, to get through the crisis.

The airline received a similar loan and a capital increase last year.

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