SAS airline operator remains in the red after weak quarter

SAS airline operator remains in the red after weak quarter Stockholm - The SAS Group, operator of the joint carrier Scandinavian Airlines, on Tuesday reported a higher pre-tax loss and lower turnover for first-quarter 2009. The pre-tax loss was 1.02 billion kronor (125 million dollars), compared to a year-on-year pre-tax loss of
875 million kronor.

Turnover fell some 8 per cent to 11.3 billion kronor, while the net loss was 748 million kronor. A year ago, the net loss was 1.1 billion kronor.

"As expected, earnings for the first quarter were weak," SAS chief executive Mats Jansson said in a statement, citing the continued effects of the financial crisis.

Cost-cutting measures were continuing, Jansson said, noting that the group was also reducing capacity and slashing unprofitable routes.

Some 500 employees left the group during the quarter. The headcount at the end of the quarter was some 22,100 people.

During the quarter, SAS completed the sale of its subsidiary Spanair and completed a 6-billion-kronor rights issue.

The move was backed by among others the governments of Norway, Sweden and Denmark that own a 50-per-cent stake.

The SAS Group flew 5.7 million passengers during the quarter, down 15 per cent year-on-year. (dpa)