Demand has been positive in Scandinavia in the beginning of 2016. Overall market capacity has increased about 7% in 2016, with the strongest growth on primarily international routes. The market capacity growth is expected to slow down slightly during the summer program. Demand for European leisure routes, long haul traffic and domestic routes continue to grow. Due to the capacity growth in the market and lower jet fuel prices, the PASK has declined somewhat more than anticipated during February-April. In response, SAS has increased the level of sales activities which gradually has improved the load factor and PASK trend during the quarter.
SAS is increasing its intercontinental capacity by about 25% during fiscal year 2015/2016 through new routes and frequencies. Also, until April 2016 larger aircraft have replaced phased out Boeing 717 primarily in Sweden, which has affected the load factor negatively. Overall, this has resulted in a longer average stage length with subsequent effect on the yield/PASK and will contribute to an expected scheduled capacity growth of 10% during 2015/2016. Number of flights is at the same time expected to increase by about 1%.
SAS scheduled traffic development in April
SAS increased its scheduled capacity in April by 9.1%. The traffic increased by 9.2%. The overall load factor was in line with last year at 69.6%. The load factor was negatively affected by the timing of Easter but improved throughout April.
SAS intercontinental traffic increased 31.4% and the capacity was up 37.7%. The response to SAS refreshed long haul cabin has been strong and traffic in Business Class increased during the month by more than 50%. Within Europe/ Intrascandinavia, SAS decreased its capacity by 5.8%, but traffic was only down 5.0%. Capacity on the domestic routes was increased by 8.4%, primarily due to the different timing of Easter between 2016 and 2015. Demand responded well and was up 8.4%.