Scandinavian carrier SAS has temporarily laid off 11,000 employees and will make 120 positions in Sweden permanently redundant, and is warning that the state support it is set to receive “will not suffice” if the coronavirus crisis persists.
The airline also disclosed today that it was forced to slash scheduled and charter capacity by 45% in March, compared with the same month in 2019, as traffic fell 62%.
Load factor for the month dropped 21.8 percentage points to 49.6%.
SAS says it has cancelled “almost all flights” in April, with the exception of “a few domestic routes” in Norway and Sweden. The airline will serve more destinations in Norway than in Sweden following an agreement with the Norwegian government.
Sweden is allocating SKr1.5 billion ($150 million) in credit guarantees to SAS, which will also benefit from similar measures provided by Denmark. Both governments are shareholders in the airline. It is also in line to receive 25% of a NKr6 billion ($588 million) conditional state loan guarantee that Norway is providing to its aviation sector. However, SAS warns that these measures might not be enough.
“We are pleased that Denmark, Sweden and Norway are providing some financial support. However, the earmarked amounts will not suffice to secure and safeguard critical infrastructure if the situation is prolonged,” says the airline.