Although the demand is growing, the operating environment is challenging, with the yield at historically low levels. In addition, jet fuel prices have increased versus last year. In April the traffic program was changed around the Easter holiday with capacity moved from the domestic market to European routes. This had a positive impact on the traffic growth and load factors as more passengers flew on longer European routes at the same time as the capacity was optimized within Scandinavia.
In fiscal year 2016/2017, SAS’s total capacity growth (ASK) will amount to 6-8%. The growth will primarily be driven by a full-year effect from the new intercontinental routes that commenced during 2015/2016, increased production on European leisure routes and the fact that the Airbus A320neo is larger than the aircraft it will replace. The number of flights is expected to increase by about 2%.
SAS scheduled traffic development in April
SAS increased its scheduled capacity in April by 6.6% and the traffic grew by 15.8%, resulting in an increased load factor by 6.1 p.u. to 75.7%.
SAS intercontinental traffic increased 13.8% and the capacity was up 7.9%. The capacity growth is lower than previous months as there only is a year-to-year affect from added capacity on one route between Scandinavia and Miami compared to two routes until March.
The traffic on the European/Intrascandinavian routes increased by a strong 25.6%. This was primarily driven by a more than 50% traffic increase on SAS’s leisure routes primarily to southern Europe in response to increased demand to these destinations during the Easter holiday.
On domestic routes, the capacity was decreased by 11.8% and the traffic was down by 4.1% due to the adjusted traffic program during the Easter holiday.