Now that the two major airlines in Scandinavia have presented their figures for the month of December, we see that they are almost as large in terms of the number of passengers. But what will January look like for the respective companies?

In December, Norwegian had 931,917 passengers, while SAS had slightly more with 977,000 regular passengers. Compared with December 2019, they have both lost about 1.4 million travelers each during the month of December.

SAS has a larger capacity in December compared with Norwegian. However, this can be explained by the fact that SAS is operating intercontinental flights, something that Norwegians no longer do. On the other hand, in terms of the load factor, Norwegian is better at filling its aircraft with passengers. In December, they had a load factor of 71.3% while SAS had a 57% load factor on their flights.

One of the contributing factors to SAS having a lower load factor has a lot to do with the way they operate. With a tighter timetable to match the business travelers that exist, it often includes the need to fly aircraft with fewer passengers. With the reorganization that SAS is implementing with SAS Link, the available capacity will decrease somewhat, however, with the same number of passengers, which in turn generates an increased load factor.

For someone who believes in a strong first quarter for these airlines this year, may think again.

With a normally low travel period during the first months of the year and with constantly new outbreaks that lead to restrictions, the decline from October will continue. SAS, like other airlines, has also reduced its capacity during the first months, something that the Danish news site Finans was able to report.

In the coming weeks until the sports holiday, SAS will reduce capacity by up to 30 percent, but SAS expects to stick to the plans for a substantial reopening during the spring and summer, writes Finans

“The omicron variant has caused the number of infections to flare up. This has led to a general decline in demand and for some countries with strict restrictions, we have also seen a marked decline in travel desire. Therefore, from this week we will reduce the supply of seats significantly “, says Simon Pauck Hansen, Deputy CEO of SAS with responsibility for operations.

So how January will end is difficult to know, but perhaps Peter Krogsgaard, commercial director at Copenhagen Airport, will be heard for his optimism and that intercontinental flights help SAS present a January that does not deviate downwards from December.

“At the end of the year, the long journeys out of Europe to Thailand and American cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago began again. In December, we were at almost 50 percent of the normal passenger numbers on intercontinental traffic. It creates extra optimism, ”says Peter Krogsgaard.

And for Norwegian that their New Year’s sale has generated enough bookings to maintain a similar load factor as for December.


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