SAS posts further losses as pandemic still squeezes airlines

For its first quarter, SAS booked a net loss of 2.05 billion Swedish kronor compared to a loss of 861 million Swedish kronor a year earlier, the company said. — AFP pic
For its first quarter, SAS booked a net loss of 2.05 billion Swedish kronor compared to a loss of 861 million Swedish kronor a year earlier, the company said. — AFP pic

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STOCKHOLM, Feb 25 — Scandinavian airline SAS reported today a wider quarterly loss, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, but said it hoped things would improve in the summer as vaccines roll out.

For its first quarter — November to January — SAS booked a net loss of 2.05 billion Swedish kronor (RM1 billion), compared to a loss of 861 million Swedish kronor a year earlier, the company said.

Revenue, reflecting the drop in traffic, plunged 77 per cent year-on-year to 2.28 billion Swedish kronor.

The number of passengers fell to just under one million, over five million less than the same period a year before and a drop of 900,000 compared to the preceeding quarter.

The carrier has already laid off 5,000 staff — 40 percent of its workforce — having in March furloughed 90 percent.

The company’s CEO, Rickard Gustafson, announced last month his departure after ten years at the head of SAS, to take over as head of the Swedish ball-bearing maker SKF.

“In general, restrictions are currently more stringent than they were in spring 2020,” Gustafson, due to be replaced by July, said.

Gustafson said the arrival of vaccines gave “hope that restrictions will ease and that we will see an increase in travel toward summer 2021.”

The company said it was preparing for the potential resumption of flights on 180 routes, “provided that the prevailing travel restrictions will allow people to travel.”

But SAS still said it expected that “demand is most likely to remain highly limited in the foreseeable future,” with more normal levels returning only in 2022. — AFP

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