Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is consolidating its position as the dominant airline serving the UK and Irish market to Scandinavia.SAS is currently enjoying a market share of 38 per cent in the UK, its strongest since 2003. While the UK and Irish market is reporting passenger traffic growth of one per cent per quarter, SAS is outperforming this trend and reporting passenger figures up six per cent for the first quarter of 2007. The airline is experiencing good load factors, up four per cent on 2006 figures.
Commenting on SAS’ record UK and Irish results, Lars-Ove Filipson, General Manager United Kingdom & Ireland, Scandinavian Airlines System said: “Our aircraft are fuller than ever and SAS is enjoying higher load factors than competitors on key Scandinavian routes, which is unprecedented. SAS’ UK and Irish strategy is to offer greater choice of flight times, departure airports, destinations and products. This strategy has proved a success as evident in SAS’ exceptional figures for the first quarter of 2007.”
SAS is also celebrating the success of its premium product model, with strong growth in both Business and Economy Extra. Business Class and Economy Extra passenger numbers are up 8 per cent and 23 per cent respectively on 2006 figures with almost a third (28 per cent) of SAS customers now travelling in one of these two classes. Accordingly, the strong performance of SAS premium cabins have resulted in over half of the airline’s UK and Irish revenue being generated by the premium products. SAS operates full business and economy services on all flights, in addition to its unique premium economy service, Economy Extra. The three-class model, in conjunction with the strategic introduction of one-way fares has lead to record results for Scandinavia’s flag-carrier.
The prevailing economic upturn in both the UK and Irish economies has led to increased demand for strong business links to Scandinavian’s financial heartland. SAS has capitalized on the current economic climate and is reporting considerable business traffic growth on its London routes, particularly to the three Scandinavian capitals of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen. This growth is symptomatic of SAS’ increased relevance to London’s financial districts with its excellent links from London City Airport to Scandinavia.
SAS first introduced services to London City airport in October 2005 with double daily services to Copenhagen. Intense demand for the route resulted in this service increasing to three return flights per day in 2007. In addition to the Copenhagen service, SAS introduced a double daily return service to Stockholm in February 2006 and, as from 28 August 2007, the airline will introduce a new double daily return service from London City to Oslo. Furthermore, SAS’ unique one-way fare structure, means that customers can mix and match the airports they travel from. SAS customers can choose to fly out of London City and return via Heathrow according to which airport is most convenient for their home or office. SAS is the only airline servicing Scandinavia to allow airport combinability.
The positive result achieved by SAS UK and Ireland has been mirrored by those of the SAS Group. The Group posted improved global income for the first quarter, compared to last year, of £63 MGBP (850MSEK), before capital gains and nonrecurring items. This positive result was achieved by a combination of strong market growth, high yields, cost control and increased passenger buy in into SAS’ unique business model