The SAS Group’s air traffic during the first half of 2002 was characterized by strong growth attributable to the acquisitions of Braathens and Spanair, as well as the recovery by Scandinavian Airlines. The number of transported passengers rose by 30.2% during the first half of 2002, compared with the same period in 2001. This growth has not been stated fully in the published traffic figures, since the latter are compared with the respective companies’ traffic in 2001. According to its plans, since making the acquisitions the SAS Group has carried out major restructuring measures and closed unprofitable routes, which is reflected in the traffic figures. As a result of the restructuring carried out to date, Braathens and Spanair are showing a strong improvement in earnings.
The previously communicated efficiency improvements and restructuring measures made within the SAS Group - which are designed to reinstate satisfactory profitability and create a base for growth - are currently being implemented and are proceeding according to plan. Capacity utilization has improved beyond expectations and is better than the market in general.
Traffic for Scandinavian Airlines has returned to the same levels as in 2001, which is confirmed by the traffic figures for June 2002. During the first half of 2002, passenger traffic (RPK) decreased by 0.4%. Reported passenger traffic for June 2002 shows that traffic for Scandinavian Airlines has developed more strongly than for the European airline industry in general.
The SAS Group wants to point out that the first and fourth quarters are seasonally weak quarters. The second and third quarters are seasonally stronger quarters for Scandinavian Airlines. The acquisitions of Braathens and Spanair are expected to further enhance this development.
The SAS Group will update its earnings forecast for the full-year 2002 in connection with the release of the half-year interim report on August 7, 2002.