SAS Back in the Black

Scandinavian airlines SAS posted fourth quarter pre-tax earnings below market expectations on Thursday, but was in the black for the full year after four years of losses. The company made a profit of some US $73.9 million in the quarter.

Competition from no-frills airlines such as Ryanair, rising jet fuel costs and overcapacity have hurt airlines in recent years.

But recent capacity reductions and a pick-up in traffic have improved the outlook.

SAS said it expected passenger growth of 2 to 3 percent during 2006 within Scandinavia and 4 to 5 percent to and from Europe.

Earlier this week, SAS said illegal industrial action by its Danish and Norwegian pilots in early 2006 affected group traffic negatively by between 4 and 5 percent in January.

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