SAS: Highest Passenger Figures Since Pandemic

A Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350 approaches to land.
Photo Credit: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Alex Barrett 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

SAS released its Q3 report stating its highest passenger figure since before the pandemic, and a profitable quarter too.

For the first time since 2019, SAS have had a profitable quarter, despite challenging commercial conditions and demand.

Problems with capacity at Copenhagen Airport have been a particular point of contention for customers and SAS seem fully aware.

Chapter 11 Expansion

With expansion underway as well, particularly in the US, SAS were keen to give an update:

“We are making progress in our Chapter 11 process in the US and in reaching our overall targets in the SAS FORWARD plan. During the quarter, we started a competitive and broad equity solicitation process to secure capital that will help drive our airline forward and facilitate our emergence from the Chapter 11 process.”

“There has been substantial interest from potential investors to participate in the process, where potential investors can place bids to take a lead position or be paired with other investors in acquiring equity interests of the reorganized company.”

Photo Credit: SAS

The main contributing factor for the increased profits however comes from higher passenger and load factor figures.
Throughout the third quarter, there was an increase in the total number of passengers up 36.8 percent over Q3 2022. Overall flown load factor was up 3.7 percent in the same period for 2022, moving to 81.5% total.

These increases meant that a 54% year-on-year increase in operating revenue was achieved.

Looking ahead

There are also new routes for the Autumn and Winter season. Another move in which SAS hopes will allow them to continue the positive trends.
Here’s what it had to say as part of the Q3 report:

“As part of SAS’ strategy to strengthen our offering for Scandinavian travelers, we have increased our capacity for the autumn and winter season. In May, we announced two new direct intercontinental routes. We are bringing back a direct route from Copenhagen to Bangkok, starting this autumn, and we are also returning to Africa for the first time in decades, through weekly flights to Agadir, Morocco, starting in November. SAS will fly to Agadir both from Copenhagen and from Stockholm during the winter season until the end of March 2024, offering a convenient timetable with daytime departure and arrival.”

Comments from the CEO

Despite the various contributing positives throughout this period such as steps towards fossil-free aviation and a strong Star Alliance partnership position. It would seem that the overall passenger numbers and the US Chapter 11 progress are the main focus for SAS.

An SAS Airbus A320neo on the tarmac after delivery.
Photo Credit: SAS

Here’s a statement from Anko van der Werff, President and CEO of SAS:

“We are approaching the winter season and I am pleased by the positive trend in our ticket sales throughout the third quarter. We continue our ramp-up and will increase capacity this winter, compared to the same period last year.”

“We continue to make steady progress with SAS FORWARD and our Chapter 11 process in the US. We are progressing with our equity solicitation process and we are engaging with our different stakeholders to build consensus for a plan of reorganization.”

“I want to thank my colleagues at SAS for their hard work to ensure that we take the best possible care of our customers, and to ensure that they get the quality service they expect from us. I am grateful for all your efforts! As always, we look forward to welcoming our customers on board our aircraft.”

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