CEO Rickard Gustafsson i Scandinavian Airlines Systems( Photo: SAS Image Bank)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in total revenue of over 77% compared to same quarter last year. To mitigate the revenue shortfall, we continued to deliver on our cost reduction initiatives and total operating expenses were reduced by 53% year-on-year to SEK 5.8 billion. However, the current limited demand for travel precludes positive earnings, which ended at negative SEK 3 billion, down SEK 4.3 billion on last year, reports

The full fiscal year 2020 was of course also heavily impacted by the pandemic. Since March, most of our traffic has been temporarily paused, and demand hasn’t yet returned to anywhere near the previous year’s levels. This led to a decline in revenue of 55% to SEK 20.5 billion, in part mitigated by a 37% reduction in costs due to a lower variable cost and an exhaustive cost reduction program. Still, full-year earnings declined SEK 9.4 billion to negative SEK 8.6 billion.

Improving Refund Time

At the end of the quarter, we launched a set of initiatives to improve the refund lead time, including automated self-service options for travel agents and consumers, robots to tackle the backlog and hiring additional resources to handle more complex cases. We’re pleased to see that our efforts have significantly improved an otherwise unsatisfactory situation. During the quarter, SEK 1 billion was repaid for canceled flights, which is an increase of more than 50% compared to the previous quarter. However, we will not rest until all rightful claims have been settled, amounting to approximately SEK 0.9 billion as of 1 December. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all customers who have experienced unsatisfactory lead times, caused by an unprecedented situation for the whole airline industry.

By the end of the quarter, our recapitalization initiative was finalized, raising SEK 12 billion in new liquidity and 14.25 billion in equity.

Will Apply for State Aid

According to the terms of the utilized SEK 3.3 billion state guaranteed revolving credit facility, it was repaid in full by the end of the quarter. Following the completed rights issue, we aim to apply for the Norwegian state guaranteed term loan and to explore additional options to preserve a strong liquidity, such as aircraft financing. 

To illustrate the value of Scandinavia’s largest loyalty program, EuroBonus, we transferred it to a separate entity in which we will continue to further strengthen the relationship with our customers.

The finalized recapitalization, followed by additional initiatives to manage liquidity, makes SAS prepared for a tough winter season and a challenging fiscal year 2021, that most likely will be loss making. I am grateful for the support that our largest owners, the governments of Denmark and Sweden, and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, have demonstrated throughout this recapitalization process. I am also thankful for the support and trust demonstrated by individual and institutional investors by participating in the rights issue, despite the challenging times that the aviation industry is currently undergoing.


  • Revenue: MSEK 20,513 (46,112)
  • Income before tax (EBT): MSEK -10,151 (794)
  • Income before tax and items affecting comparability: MSEK -8,619 (786)
  • Net income for the period: MSEK -9,275 (621)
  • Earnings per common share: SEK -21.55 (1.54)
SAS-tale photographed in the Golden Years( Photo:

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