Clearer skies for SAS

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Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), plagued by heavy losses for years, could report some more profits on Tuesday that indicate its lengthy and ongoing restructuring is finally yielding some positive results. The results, though, were weaker than analysts had expected.

Long-troubled SAS could report its second profitable quarter in a row. PHOTO: SAS

SAS executives said the airline logged pre-tax earnings of SEK 276 million in the third quarter, a sharp turnaround from losses of SEK 1 billion in the same period last year. It was the second quarter in a row with relatively modest profits so managers could feel some relief after years of crisis.

TDN Finans reported, however, that earnings estimates compiled by SME Direkt had been set at SEK 394 million, higher than SAS delivered. Operating revenues, meanwhile, slipped to SEK 10.6 billion from SEK 10.7 billion last year.

The airline’s performance nonetheless left executives optimistic that SAS will post a profit for the full year, even though economic circumstances have worsened. SAS chief executive Rickard Gustafson also cited good traffic growth despite tough competition, cautioning at the same time that challenges were expected to increase.

Around 2.6 million passengers flew on SAS in October, up 3.9 percent from October 2010, and the airline reported a load factor of 75 percent.

Views and News staff