* Air travel slammed by pandemic
* Fiscal Q2 pretax loss 2.4 bln SEK vs yr-ago 3.7 bln
* Sales fall to 1.9 bln SEK from 5.3 bln
* 2nd wave of pandemic hampering recovery
STOCKHOLM, May 27 (Reuters) - Airline SAS reported
on Thursday yet another deep quarterly loss due to the COVID-19
pandemic but said vaccinations provided some hope for looser
travel restrictions and higher demand heading into the summer
The pandemic has seen air travel collapse, plunging the
industry into crisis. SAS, whose biggest owners are the states
of Sweden and Denmark, in 2020 agreed a 14 billion Swedish crown
($1.7 billion) recapitalisation plan to help keep it going.
SAS' fiscal second-quarter loss before tax was 2.36 billion
crowns ($284 million) against a year-earlier 3.72 billion loss.
Costs were 54% lower than a year ago, limiting the loss as sales
tumbled to 1.93 billion crowns from 5.26 billion.
"Infection, delayed vaccinations and continued stringent
travel restrictions have led to a slower than hoped for
recovery," acting Chief Executive Karl Sandlund said in a
"However, SAS is ready to welcome our customers back on
board as travel restrictions ease ahead of the important summer
SAS said that for the summer it was opening 180 direct
routes and increasing capacity on domestic routes in
"The uncertainty around the pandemic means many customers
book their tickets with shorter notice, which makes it a bit
harder for us to predict the summer. But we do see higher
forward bookings than we did earlier in the spring," Sandlund
The company on Wednesday said it had secured loan guarantees
totalling 3 billion crowns from Sweden and Denmark as a
liquidity buffer complementing ongoing activities to lower costs
and strengthen liquidity.
Sandlund said in an interview that SAS has enough liquidity
and that the new guarantees constituted extra security ahead of
potential further waves of the pandemic.
SAS has appointed Anko Van der Werff as new chief executive
from July after its previous CEO resigned in January. Van der
Werff leaves the top job at Colombia's struggling Avianca
Shares in SAS were up 1.5% at 0740 GMT, taking a
year-to-date rise to 6%.
($1 = 8.3048 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Simon Johnson and