RadarBox: Despite Financial Turmoil, SAS Is Operating More Flights Than Last Year

Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

LONDON – Despite the financial turmoil it has faced this year, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is operating more flights this year than in 2021, based on data from RadarBox.com.

The airline has had to stave off bankruptcy and has had to restructure in order to remain afloat in this challenging industry.

Without further ado, let’s get into the numbers…

The Numbers…

For this week, SAS is expected to handle 606 movements, based on a seven-day rolling average provided by the flight tracking company.

This represents an increase of 28.66% compared to last year’s period when the figure was at 471 movements.

As it stands, SAS is around 137 movements away in this rolling average from achieving pre-pandemic numbers, but this still does represent progress by the carrier.

Below is the last four weeks’ worth of data on the carrier:

Date2021 Numbers2022 NumbersPercentage Difference (2022 vs. 2021)
November 5-12506 movements593 movements+17.19%
November 12-19481 movements587 movements+22.04%
November 19-26486 movements574 movements+18.11%
November 26-December 3468 movements570 movements+21.79%

The data shows that despite the volatility of the Winter 2022/23 season, the airline is achieving double-digit growth compared to last year’s statistics, which is a significant thing for the airline to be happy about.

SAS Is Able To Address Problems of The Present…

Photo Credit: Joris Wendt/AviationSource

SAS CEO Anko van der Werff, who used to run Avianca, believes that the airline is able to address the problems of the present that he is facing.

He has been able to renegotiate the terms for his leased aircraft, which represents around 36 airframes in his fleet.

These agreements have been approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The agreement has been done with 10 different lessors – which include AerCap Holdings, Aergo Capital, Aircastle, and Avolon – which represent 36 different aircraft, 3 wide bodies, and 33 narrowbodies, as well as certain equipment related.

These amendments are good for a saving of at least SEK 850 million (€78 million) to SEK 1.0 billion (€90 million) a year, which is able to constitute a reduction of SEK 7.5 billion a year.

van der Werff said the following:

“We continue to make progress in our chapter 11 process. The amended lease agreements allow us to reconfigure our fleet and improve our cost structure, which is a key element of our SAS FORWARD plan.”

“We are grateful to our lessors for working constructively with us as we continue taking necessary actions to become a more competitive airline and a stronger business partner to them.”

“We are continuing to pursue additional lease amendments so we can achieve our targets.”

Anko: Difficult to Renegotiate, But We Have To Compete With Half of the World…

Photo sourced from SAS Website.

On the 5th of September, Anko was also present at the World Aviation Festival, where he gave a more detailed response as to why SAS went into Chapter 11, and it goes as follows:

“So it’s very difficult to renegotiate with many of the parties that surround you, if you like, right?”

“I mean, as airlines, we have to compete with half the world, but many of our suppliers, if you like, from airports too, well, aircraft manufacturers or distribution systems are also in, there’s typically far less competition.”

“So what chapter 11 at least allows you to do is renegotiate some of those deals that otherwise would be anchored, that all would be in the years to come.”

“And it’s very tough because you have to reassess to renegotiate and become a chief negotiations officer for years these months. But it is a process that allows you step-by-step towards becoming a healthier airline.”

“Chapter 11 allows you to sit down with your lessors; you have a moment in time, a few months, in which you can then say, ‘Okay, this doesn’t work for me anymore, and either we’re going to renegotiate on the length of turn point for specific aircraft, or you can reject aircraft.”

“We’re in the process of rejecting aircraft.”


Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

It remains clear that SAS’ movement statistics are heading in the right direction, especially with such a big jump that will take them closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Once they achieve such figures, then that is when SAS can expect to be out of any financial turmoil, provided their planes are making them money.

All eyes will be on the carrier going into 2023 to see what other moves they can make in a very volatile industry at present.

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