Q2 2023: Continued positive trend for passenger demand – equity solicitation process initiated
The summer season is approaching and we noted a continued positive evolution for passenger demand through the second quarter. 5.4 million passengers flew with SAS during the quarter, which represents an increase of 36 percent compared with the same period last year. We are pleased to see that the overall underlying demand for travel was healthy during the quarter, despite the economic uncertainties in society as a whole. We are looking forward to a busy summer season and to flying our passengers to their holiday destinations.
During the quarter, we continued to increase our capacity for the summer and autumn adding new destinations and higher frequencies to popular destinations. We have added another 10 routes for the upcoming summer and autumn, in addition to the 20 new routes announced in the first quarter. We have inaugurated three new direct intercontinental routes, from Aalborg to New York, from Gothenburg to New York, and from Copenhagen to New York. We are also resuming traffic to Tokyo in June, and as announced after the quarter ended, we are bringing back a direct route from Copenhagen to Bangkok, Thailand as well as adding weekly flights to Agadir, Morocco, starting this autumn.
We are making progress in our Chapter 11 process in the US and in reaching our overall targets in the SAS FORWARD plan. During the quarter, we took the next key step in SAS FORWARD – initiating the equity solicitation process. We are running a competitive and broad solicitation process to secure capital that will help drive our airline forward and facilitate our emergence from the Chapter 11 process in the US.
FEBRUARY 2023–APRIL 2023
- Revenue: MSEK 8,955 (7,048)
- Income before tax (EBT): MSEK -1,414 (-1,557)
- Income before tax and items affecting comparability: MSEK -1,561 (-1,613)
- Net income for the period: MSEK -1,525 (-1,520)
- Earnings per common share: SEK -0.21 (-0.21)
NOVEMBER 2022–APRIL 2023
- Revenue: MSEK 16,851 (12,593)
- Income before tax (EBT): MSEK -3,863 (-4,154)
- Income before tax and items affecting comparability: MSEK -4,012 (-4,234)
- Net income for the period: MSEK -4,234 (-3,962)
- Earnings per common share: SEK -0.58 (-0.55)
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS DURING THE QUARTER
- SAS entered into new sale and leaseback agreements with Aviation Capital Group, securing long-term financing for 10 new Airbus A320neo aircraft.
- SAS took the next step in its transformation plan SAS FORWARD by initiating a process to solicit equity investment in the reorganized company.
- SAS currently aims to complete its court-supervised process in the US during the latter part of the second half of 2023. SAS currently expects that there will be only modest recovery for general unsecured creditors and little or no recovery for subordinated unsecured creditors upon emergence from the Chapter 11 process, and that there will be no or very little value for existing shareholders in SAS AB at the end of the company’s restructuring proceedings.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS AFTER THE QUARTER
- On May 15, SAS received court approval for the company’s equity solicitation procedures.
- On May 10, ruling by the General Court, EUCJ, regarding the states' participation in the recapitalization of SAS in 2020.
- SAS updated its financial projections during the second quarter, read more on page 10.
SAS noted a continued positive trend for passenger demand through the second quarter. The total number of passengers increased 36.2 percent year-on-year. Our RPK increased 39.0 percent while capacity increased 25.2 percent, compared with the same period last year. Our flown load factor of 74.3 percent was up 7.4 percentage points on the same period last year.
Earnings before tax ended at negative SEK 1.4 billion, representing a year-on-year improvement of SEK 143 million. Jet-fuel prices and currency exchange rates continue to bring strong headwinds for our business.
Cost reductions across the business remain in focus to secure our cost competitiveness. Total operating expenses for the quarter ended at SEK 9.9 billion. Total operating revenue landed at SEK 9.0 billion for the quarter, a year-on-year improvement of approximately SEK 1.9 billion.
The cash balance at the end of the quarter was SEK 5.6 billion. Operational cash flow during the quarter amounted to an inflow of SEK 2.5 billion, up slightly year-on-year.
UPDATE ON SAS' TRANSFORMATION PLAN
We launched our comprehensive business transformation plan SAS FORWARD in conjunction with the publication of the first quarter report for FY2022, in the end of February 2022. The aim of the plan is to secure long-term competitiveness for SAS in the global aviation industry. On July 5, 2022, to accelerate the implementation of SAS FORWARD, we announced that we had voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 in the US, a well-established and flexible legal framework for restructuring businesses with operations in multiple jurisdictions. Through this process, we aim to reach agreements with key stakeholders, restructure the company’s debt obligations, reconfigure our aircraft fleet and emerge with a significant capital injection.
In the second quarter, we took the next key step in the SAS FORWARD plan by starting the equity solicitation process. The procedures governing the equity solicitation process were approved by the US court on May 15 and we are now running a competitive and broad solicitation process to secure capital that will help drive our airline forward and facilitate our emergence from the Chapter 11 process. Simultaneously, we continue to engage with our different stakeholders and work toward building consensus for a reorganization plan. We target to complete the Chapter 11 process in the US in the latter part of the second half of 2023.
During the quarter, we also entered into new sale and leaseback agreements for ten new Airbus A320neo aircraft with Aviation Capital Group, thereby securing competitive financing for our renewed fleet of modern and fuel-efficient aircraft.
STEPS TOWARDS FOSSIL-FREE AVIATION
SAS aims to decarbonize aviation and progress on this ambitious plan can only be achieved through collaboration. By involving our customers and teaming up with them, we can reduce CO2 emissions and enable more large-scale production of sustainable aviation fuels. In February, the Danish company DSV joined SAS’ Corporate Sustainability Program, meaning that DSV will buy sustainable aviation fuel for all its corporate travel with SAS for 2023. Moreover, in late April, we signed an agreement with Sundsvall Municipality through which Sundsvall becomes the first municipality in Sweden to only purchase biofuel tickets for all business travel flights for its employees. We hope that our new partnerships will inspire other companies and municipalities to reduce their air travel emissions while contributing to driving the transition toward sustainable aviation.
In the beginning of April, we also launched two ticket types that include biofuel, available on all domestic, Scandinavian and European flights. This means that travelers buying Go Smart or Plus Pro can purchase tickets with 50 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF such as biofuel) – to lower the C02 emissions of their SAS trip. SAS aims to use fossil-free aviation fuel equivalent to all our domestic flights by 2030, a journey we are making together with our passengers. We are, therefore, making it even easier for our travelers to be part of the journey toward more sustainable air travel by launching tickets that include the maximum allowed amount of biofuel.
During the quarter, SAS was yet again voted the most sustainable company in the aviation industry in Sweden, according to the extensive brand survey Sustainable Brand Index. SAS is a driving force in sustainable aviation, and we are working hard to cut emissions. This award is proof that we are on the right track, and SAS will continue to invest in modern fuel-efficient aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels, emerging technologies, and sustainable products and services.
SAS WON WEBBY AWARD FOR REDESIGNED APP
In April, SAS’ redesigned app won a prestigious Webby Award, a leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. SAS’ award-winning app contains a range of new features, such as a simplified booking process, travel recommendations, real-time flight updates, and easy access to boarding passes and travel documents. The award serves as a validation of our dedication to provide exceptional digital solutions for our customers.
NEW ROUTES AND DESTINATIONS
As part of SAS’ strategy to strengthen our offering for Scandinavian travelers, we have increased our capacity with another 10 routes for the upcoming summer and autumn as well as adding frequencies to popular destinations. The new routes are an addition to the 20 new routes announced in the first quarter this year. As of June, we are also resuming traffic to Haneda, Tokyo three times a week.
US destinations continue to generate demand for additional and more frequent departures, and during the quarter, we inaugurated three new routes to New York. The new route from Copenhagen airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport was inaugurated in February and the intercontinental routes from Gothenburg and Aalborg to New York were inaugurated in April.
We are bringing back a direct route from Copenhagen to Bangkok, starting this autumn, which we announced after the quarter ended. Thailand and the Scandinavian countries have a long history of friendship and cooperation and I know that many of our customers have been asking for this. As announced on May 10, SAS is also returning to Africa for the first time in decades, through weekly flights to Agadir, Morocco, starting in November. SAS will fly to Agadir both from Copenhagen and from Stockholm during the winter season until the end of March 2024, offering a convenient timetable with daytime departure and arrival.
SAS' AIRCRAFT FOR MEDICAL EVACUATION OF WAR VICTIMS FROM UKRAINE
As part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, SAS has provided aircraft for the evacuation of wounded and critically ill patients from Ukraine since the invasion started in 2022. Through a long-standing agreement with the Norwegian Armed Forces and Directorate of Health, SAS has converted a regular Boeing 737 aircraft into a hospital evacuation aircraft, which takes war victims from an evacuation center in Poland to hospitals across Europe. Through this collaboration, we have evacuated well over 1,000 war victims using the SAS aircraft on a near-weekly basis. We are immensely proud to be part of this mission and we believe that it truly demonstrates the importance of aviation in a crisis.
We are entering the busy summer season with added capacity through a large number of new routes and frequencies, and we look forward to welcoming our passengers on board and flying them to their holiday destinations.
We continue to make steady progress with SAS FORWARD and our Chapter 11 process in the US. We expect to complete the equity solicitation process after the summer, and we are engaging with our different stakeholders to build consensus for a plan of reorganization. We currently target to emerge from the Chapter 11 process in the latter part of the second half of 2023.
We have a busy period ahead of us as we are entering the summer season. My colleagues at SAS are working hard to ensure that we take the best possible care of our customers and I am hugely grateful for all their efforts.
As always, we look forward to welcoming our customers on board our aircraft.
Anko van der Werff
President & CEO
Stockholm, June 1, 2023
Teleconference – Q2 2023
A teleconference and webcast for investors, analysts and media will be held at 10.00 AM CEST. Anko van der Werff, President & CEO and Erno Hildén, Executive Vice President & CFO, will present and comment on the report. The presentation will be held in English.
Access via web link (no advance notification is necessary): https://ir.financialhearings.com/sas-q2-2023
Link to register for participation via telephone: https://conference.financialhearings.com/teleconference/?id=5003133
After registration you will be provided phone numbers and a conference/user ID to access the conference. You can ask questions verbally via the teleconference.
For further information, please contact:
SAS press office, +46 8 797 29 44
Investor relations, +46 709 977 070
SAS, Scandinavia’s leading airline, with main hubs in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, is flying to destinations in Europe, USA and Asia. Spurred by a Scandinavian heritage and sustainable values, SAS aims to be the global leader in sustainable aviation. We will reduce total carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2025, by using more sustainable aviation fuel and our modern fleet with fuel-efficient aircraft. In addition to flight operations, SAS offers ground handling services, technical maintenance and air cargo services. SAS is a founder member of the Star Alliance™, and together with its partner airlines offers a wide network worldwide. Learn more at https://www.sasgroup.net
This is information that SAS AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of Erno Hildén, at 08:00 a.m. CEST on June 1, 2023.