SAS reports increased passenger numbers compared to November driven by holiday travel

SAS made this announcement:

Almost 400,000 passengers flew with SAS during December, an increase of 18% compared to last month, but a decline by 80% year over year. At the same time SAS reduced its capacity by 6% compared to November, which corresponds to a reduction of 74% compared to last year. The load factor came in at 33%, an increase of some 8 percentage units (p.u.) compared to the previous month, but down 38 p.u. compared to last year. The increase in passengers and load factor compared to November is mainly driven by an increased demand for domestic travel during the holiday season.

“The overall demand continues to be heavily impacted by continued restrictions, with holiday travel significantly below normal levels in December. SAS continues to adapt its capacity according to the demand, that is expected to stay at low levels throughout the winter season. However, we’re encouraged by the recent vaccine developments and initiated COVID-19 vaccination programs, providing a foundation for a future normalization of our industry” says Rickard Gustafson, CEO SAS.

In other news, the President and CEO of SAS, Rickard Gustafson, has decided to leave SAS after 10 years. He will leave the company, at the latest, on July 1, 2021.

Chairman Carsten Dilling comments:

“I’m both disappointed and sorry that Rickard wants to move on from his important role in SAS. At the same time on behalf of the Board of SAS, I want to thank Rickard for his fantastic performance during his ten years as President and CEO. Under Rickard’s management SAS has made a remarkable turnaround, from loss to several years of profitable performance. Recently he has led the company with safe hands in the first part of the toughest crisis in the company’s 75 year history, the pandemic.

Most of all, Rickard will be remembered for his excellent leadership in SAS’s sustainability initiatives, which was the starting point for a new sustainability era in the whole aviation industry.”

President and CEO Rickard Gustafson comments:

“After ten intense and stimulating years, the time has come for me to pass on the baton to the next CEO of SAS during the first half of 2021, as I have accepted an opportunity to join one of Sweden’s largest industrial groups. SAS has a strong position in the Scandinavian market and is well positioned to lead the aviation industry toward a more sustainable future once the pandemic is under control. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all esteemed colleagues, customers and other stakeholders in SAS for their engagement, loyalty and support over the years. SAS is a fantastic organization with extraordinary people that will ensure that SAS remains an important and integrated part of the Scandinavian infrastructure”.

“SAS is still in a critical – but stable position – and the board has of course immediately started the process to appoint a new President and CEO of SAS”, Dilling concludes.

SAS scheduled traffic Dec20 Change1 Nov20-Dec20 Change1
ASK (Mill.) 946 -72.4% 1 947 -73.2%
RPK (Mill.) 313 -87.0% 565 -88.9%
Passenger load factor 33.1% -37.1 p u 29.0% -40.8 p u
No. of passengers (000) 388 -79.7% 718 -83.0%
Geographical development, schedule Dec20            vs.          Dec19 Nov20-Dec20   vs. Nov19-Dec19
Intercontinental -95.7% -79.6% -96.4% -80.2%
Europe/Intrascandinavia -88.9% -80.7% -90.9% -82.9%
Domestic -61.6% -35.7% -67.4% -35.9%
SAS charter traffic Dec20 Change1 Nov20-Dec20 Change1
ASK (Mill.) 6 -96.6% 14 -95.9%
RPK (Mill.) 2 -98.7% 5 -98.3%
Load factor 35.2% -55.7 p u 37.7% -54.6 p u
No. of passengers (000) 1 -98.9% 1 -98.3%
SAS total traffic (scheduled and charter) Dec20 Change1 Nov20-Dec20 Change1
ASK (Mill.) 951 -73.5% 1 961 -74.2%
RPK (Mill.) 315 -87.7% 570 -89.4%
Load factor 33.1% -38.0 p u 29.1% -41.7 p u
No. of passengers (000) 389 -80.2% 720 -83.3%

1 Change compared to same period last year. p u = percentage units

Preliminary yield and PASK Dec20 Nominal change FX adjusted change
Yield, SEK 1.26 32.9% 39.6%
PASK, SEK 0.42 -37.4% -34.2%
Punctuality (arrival 15 min) 82.0%
Regularity 97.4%
Change in total COemissions, rolling 12 months -68.3%
Change in COemissions per available seat kilometer -6.5%
Carbon offsetting of passenger related emissions 44%


RPK – Revenue passenger kilometers
ASK – Available seat kilometers
Load factor – RPK/ASK
Yield – Passenger revenues/RPK (scheduled)
PASK – Passenger revenues/ASK (scheduled)
Change in COemissions per available seat kilometers – SAS passenger related carbon emissions divided with total available seat kilometers (incl. non-revenue and EuroBonus), rolling 12 months
Carbon offsetting of passenger related emissions – Share of SAS passenger related carbon emissions compensated by SAS (EuroBonus members, youth tickets and SAS’ staff travel)

From fiscal year 2020 we report change in CO2 emissions in total and per Available Seat Kilometers (ASK) to align with our overall goal to reduce our total CO2 emissions by 25% by 2025, compared to 2005.