SHARE
COPY LINK

SAS

SAS ‘fighting for survival’ as Nordic airline’s shares plunge

Stocks in Scandinavian airline SAS tumbled on Monday after its chief executive said the company was fighting for its survival and must cut costs.

SAS aircraft on the tarmac in Copenhagen in May 2020. The airline is fighting for survival, its CEO said in an interview on October24th.
SAS aircraft on the tarmac in Copenhagen in May 2020. The airline is fighting for survival, its CEO said in an interview on October24th. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

“When I see what the market looks like today, how our clients are changing, and the size of our debt, it’s absolutely clear that we have to do things very differently,” Anko Van der Werff, who took over as CEO in July, told Danish business newspaper Finans late Sunday.

“It is a fight to change SAS so that we have a future.”

SAS is currently facing several problems, including a permanent drop in business travel and costly collective labour agreements, he said.

Van der Werff said he had summoned the main unions for three months of negotiations aimed at cutting costs and increasing flexibility.

“This requires understanding and willingness from everyone… SAS needs to be competitive so we can survive, grow, and create jobs,” he said.

In early afternoon trading on Monday, the SAS share price had lost 14 percent on the Stockholm stock exchange.

The ailing airline cut 5,000 jobs last year — representing 40 percent of its workforce — and announced in May this year a credit line of three billion kronor ($350 million) from the Danish and Swedish governments, its main shareholders, to get through the crisis.

That aid came on top of a first line of credit for the same amount and a capital increase in 2020.

READ ALSO: Virus-stricken airline SAS secures new public loan from Denmark and Sweden

Member comments

  1. I was just wondering last week when I was in Copenhagen why SAS doesn’t join forces with Icelandair and Finnair and merge into a new company called Nordic Air. Together they may be stronger.

    1. Because a 3 country airline is a basket case to run !…….let alone a one country airline.
      Trust me…..I’m a pilot.
      Then, I can’t imagine the Finns or the Icelanders to see the name of their countries vanish ……Nordic sounds really cheap.
      Airlines ……legacy airlines carry a hell of a lot history……a thing people tend to forget and airline employees are very proud of……I know…..I am

    2. SAS is a proud, historic name. Perhaps, the public should hear Scandinavian Airlines System more than SAS. The airline does appear to have a monopoly on SFO-CPH non stop currently, with the disappearance of Norwegian airlines. Route structure and aircraft type are really critical nowadays.

    3. So Bruno and David prefer to see an airline which is going bust but at least they keep their legacy name? It is a commercial necessity to merge with other airlines. All over Europe airlines have merged to survive.

  2. I was shocked to see our SAS Business Class — SFO-CPH — A350 about half full on our round trip flights.

    Of course, the full price tickets were about $7500.

    Hope SAS survives — and lowers fares.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: What’s behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

Travellers are reporting queues over an hour long at Stockholm's Arlanda airport. What's going on and how long is it expected to last?

EXPLAINED: What's behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

What’s the situation at Stockholm Arlanda airport? 

On Friday morning, there were queues lasting over an hour at Arlanda’s security controls. By 10am, they had been reduced to below half an hour, according to the live update the airport operator, Swedavia, maintains on its website here

Swedavia first began warning of long queue times on Monday, saying the queues were the result of a resurgence in travel combined with staffing shortages at Avarn, the contractor responsible for managing the security checks. 

“The wait times are due to a staff shortage with our security services contractor – which is caused by ongoing recruitment and absences due to illness,” the airport said on its website

What are travellers saying? 

Twitter is predictably awash with angry comments from travellers, including some well-known commentators. 

The terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp resorted to capital letters to bemoan the “CATASTROPHE” at the airport. 

The Financial Times’ Nordic Correspondent also compared the situation at Arlanda unfavourably with the smooth controls at Helsinki Airport

“Never seen anything like it and sounds like might be worse today. In Terminal 5 both queues, SAS and Norwegian, were well over 100 metres long,” he told The Local. “It took me 50 minutes to get through security. Don’t think it’s ever taken more than 10 in the Nordics before.” 

What should you do if you are travelling through Stockholm Arlanda at the moment? 

Swedavia recommends that you arrive “well in advance” when taking a flight. You can contact your airline here to find out when their check-ins and baggage drops open.  

Swedavia also recommends that you do everything possible to speed up the check-in process, such as:

  • checking in from home
  • packing hand baggage to make screening faster
  • checking the need for a face covering in advance
  • checking that you have the right travel documents ready 

If you can’t check in from home, Swedavia recommends seeing if you can check in using an automated machine at the airport.

What is the airport doing to to improve the situation? 

On June 15th, the airport is reopening Terminal 4, which might help somewhat, although the airport warns that as staffing is the major problem, having more space will not fully solve the problem over the summer. 

In a press release issued on Friday, Svedavia’s chief operations officer, Peder Grunditz, said opening a new terminal was “an important measure”. 

“We are now going to have the three biggest terminals back in operation for the first time since the pandemic,” he said. 

The company and Avarn are also making “big recruitment efforts” and taking “operational measures” to improve the queue situation, although the “challenging labour market” made that difficult. 

When will waiting times return to normal? 

In his press release, Grunditz conceded that waiting times were not likely to return to normal during the summer, due to the rapid growth in the number of people taking flights. 

“Even though we expect gradual improvements, the queuing situation is going to continue to be challenging during periods over the summer,” he said. 

SHOW COMMENTS