SAS SWOT: Scandinavia's biggest airline by seats makes best return in years, but challenges remain

SAS' results for the year to 31-Oct-2017 reveal its best result since 2009, and a return on invested capital above its target for only the second time in at least a decade.

However, its FY2018 outlook indicates no further improvement. This throws the spotlight on the challenges faced by SAS in achieving consistent returns in its very competitive markets.

SAS is the biggest airline in Scandinavia by seat share, but has been overtaken by Norwegian by total passenger numbers. It has a strong brand, particularly among the region's frequent flyers, but its cost base is still too high by comparison with the LCCs against which it competes. Its long haul network is small, but has fairly robust niche routes, and its long haul offer is supplemented by Star alliance membership.

CEO Rickard Gustafson has done well to reshape the corporate structure of SAS, to lower its costs, and improve its balance sheet and profitability since his arrival at the airline in 2011. His decision to open SAS' first bases outside Scandinavia, in London and Málaga, shows the kind of creative thinking needed to survive and thrive.

This report considers SAS' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

This CAPA Premium Analysis article is 2,895 words.

To access CAPA Premium Analysis you need a CAPA Membership

Your window into the latest insights

CAPA employs an industry-leading Analyst team based in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia who offer unique perspectives and independent and accurate commentary of critical industry developments globally. CAPA Members rely on our Analysis to unlock valuable insights and actionable intelligence to keep ahead of the game.

Big picture strategic view

Our Analysts don’t just report the news - they take a big picture strategic view of aviation dynamics, issues and trends and analyse the implications of these developments for you.

Global intelligence

The CAPA Analyst team is based globally to ensure our CAPA Members have access to independent, unique perspectives covering an entire spectrum of daily, worldwide commercial aviation developments.

Customise your Alerts

CAPA Members can use CAPA Alerts to receive daily, weekly or monthly and customised updates on our Analysis.

I'm very impressed by the factual and detailed analysis CAPA is always doing.

- CEO, Airline Member
To learn more, contact us:
Phone: +61 2 9241 3200 | Email: membership@centreforaviation.com