November 8, 2019 / 10:44 AM / 7 days ago

Airline SAS lifts profit outlook on traffic upturn

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Scandinavian airline SAS (SAS.ST) raised its full-year earnings outlook on Friday on the back of strong passenger traffic in recent months, lifting its shares more than 4%.

The airline, part-owned by the Swedish and Danish governments, said in a statement it expected to run a profit before tax and items affecting comparability of 700 million-800 million Swedish crowns ($72 million-83 million) in its fiscal year ending in October.

The carrier, which has struggled in the face of over-capacity and competition from low-cost airlines over the past decade, had previously said it would be “challenging” to reach a positive result this year.

“Despite a challenging year we are pleased with a strong performance across our operations during the last months of fiscal year 2019,” SAS Chief Executive Rickard Gustafson said.

“We are encouraged by an improved supply/demand balance in Scandinavia and that our product offering, combined with our determined efforts toward more sustainable air travel, continues to attract more customers to fly with us.”

SAS, which has seen its budget rival Norwegian (NWC.OL) hit hard by the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jet and large debts, said it flew 3.6% more passengers year-on-year in October, following a 3% rise in the preceding month.

Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Jan Harvey

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