The platform for the long-haul feet renewal, he adds, is “that we continue to deliver our restructuring program. That will generate a stronger SAS, a profitable SAS and a SAS that will generate a lot more cash flow. It all hangs together on that one.”
SAS’ 4Excellence Next Generation (4XNG) restructuring plan seeks to reduce costs and improve liquidity through headcount reductions, outsourcing of ground handling and call centers and selling off non-core assets, such as the Norwegian regional airline Wideroe.
SAS in November last year avoided bankruptcy after reaching a last-minute deal with unions in order to obtain a new credit facility from its four main shareholders—the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway and the Wallenberg family foundation—and several commercial banks. The credit facility offered by the three governments to SAS is fundamental to the airline’s survival, but several competition authorities doubt that it was carried out on market condition.
The European Commission last week opened an in-depth investigation to verify if participation of Sweden and Denmark in this €400 million revolving credit facility (RFC) is in breach of the EU’s state aid and antitrust rules. The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) surveillance authority opened a parallel investigation regarding the participation of Norway in the RCF in favor of SAS. Norway is not a member of the EU but a full member of EFTA.