Disgruntled passengers swore they'd never fly with SAS again, after more labour unrest left them stranded earlier this year. On Friday, however, the airline could report an increase in passenger traffic to record levels.
It seems the passengers' threats were fairly empty. Despite months of turbulence, SAS logged hefty gains in its passenger counts, on both domestic and foreign routes.
All told, the airline that's partially owned by the three Scandinavian governments flew 3.7 million people in June alone. That's up 6.5 percent from the same month last year.
The strongest growth was logged on SAS' European routes, where traffic was up 15.1 percent from June 2005 to June 2006.
Load factors, which measure how many people are on board each flight, also improved, with 75.6 percent of seats filled on average.
SAS has topped the lists for negative publicity recently. The airline has had severe labour unrest that forced flight delays and cancellations, been charged with spying on rival Norwegian Air and been blasted by workers for closing down a maintenance facility in Stavanger. Its Norwegian chief executive was fired in June.
Yet SAS’ Norwegian unit, SAS Braathens, also logged a strong June, with traffic up 9.9 percent to 922,000. The airline’s Norwegian load factor was up by 10 percent.
Photo © Stefan Sjögren - Stockholm Arlanda Photography