Easter holidays and lower demand blamed
The SAS Group reported a traffic decrease of 18.4% for April 2009 as well as a 20.6% drop in seat capacity, compared to the same month last year.
SAS carried a total of 2.2m passengers in April, representing a 21.3% decrease in comparison with 2008.
It said the decline was due to the expected negative impact of the Easter holidays as well as a decrease in demand due to the “weaker macroeconomic development in Scandinavia and worldwide.”
Specifically, Scandinavian Airlines’ passengers dropped by 22.9% to 1.9m during April and showed a 19.4% traffic decrease. European traffic decreased by 15.2% due to route reductions to and from Norway in southern Europe.
Two other airlines in the group, Widerøe and Blue 1’s April passengers also decreased by 11.2% and 7.2%, respectively, compared to April last year.
However, SAS’s overall load factor rose to 72.5% from 70.5% due to its capacity adjustments under its new Core SAS strategy.
Core SAS includes cost initiatives of approximately €381m (SEK4bn) and approximately 20% capacity reduction.