SAS Group passenger numbers up 7.8% in Jan-2011
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SAS: 2Q losses widen after six quarters of improving results. LCCs & SAS growth depress unit revenue
After improving its underlying profit in FY2015 and narrowing its losses in the seasonally weak 1Q2016, SAS suffered a widening of losses in 2Q2016. This was the first year-on-year deterioration in its underlying result for six quarters. It benefited from lower fuel prices and from its own cost savings programme, but experienced plummeting unit revenue.
This reflects the ongoing growth of LCC competition in short haul markets, but is also the result of its own capacity increase. SAS' growth is led by rapid expansion on long haul, where Norwegian is also providing LCC competition. SAS is investing in its network and product and growing its revenue from higher-yielding loyalty scheme members, but these measures do not appear to be giving sufficient support to unit revenue.
These trends are unlikely to dissipate any time soon, and there is now the real prospect that its FY2015 result represented a cyclical peak for SAS. The company recognises the need for further change in order to improve its competitiveness. Strategies to seek labour cost reform can be expected, in spite of a strike call by Swedish pilots.
CityJet: regional airline consolidator is re-energised & refocussed after second change of ownership
It is just over six months since CityJet chairman, Pat Byrne, and a group of private investors bought the airline from previous owner Intro Aviation. Meanwhile, CityJet has received its first two Sukhoi Superjets this summer. With 13 more scheduled for delivery by 2018 they will be replacements for its ageing BAE146 fleet at London City Airport, but the Superjet first needs steep approach certification. This will be important in restoring profitability to CityJet's refocused core network at London City.
In addition, CityJet has a growing presence in contract flying for other airlines. It inherited an Air France wet-lease operation at Paris CDG from its days under Air France-KLM ownership and acquired an SAS regional operator a year ago. Recent reports of possible consolidation involving CityJet in the European regional contract flying space demonstrate that it now has a higher profile and greater credibility than at any time for many years.
Although unconfirmed, these reports link CityJet with another SAS regional operator, Cimber, and with Stobart Air, which operates wet-lease capacity for Aer Lingus and Flybe. Even if they do not come to fruition, reports of such transactions are a sign of CityJet's increased status and revitalisation after years of near invisibility as part of Air France-KLM.