SAS granted reprieve by Denmark in wake of nightmare weeks

Finally some good news for the embattled airline as Parliament decides to increase ownership stake in company and forgive billions of debt

SAS could breathe a huge sigh of relief today following the news that Denmark would step up its support of the airline.

In contrast to Sweden, which announced that it would no longer inject funds into the airline and seek to divest its stake in the company, Denmark is determined to stay the course. 

“SAS finds itself in a very serious situation. The agreement today represents a consensus that the state is willing to share responsibility in rejuvenating SAS,” said finance minister Nicolai Wammen. 

“The state still wants to be a responsible and long-term co-owner of SAS, to the benefit of Denmark’s international accessibility, export, business sector and jobs.”

READ ALSO: SAS woe continues: 1,000 pilots threaten to strike

Some strings attached
A broad majority of Parliament today not only agreed to forgive 3.5 billion kroner of debt to SAS, but also increase Denmark’s ownership share in the airline from 21.8 percent to upwards of 30 percent.

However, the government has required SAS to find other investors to support its business before any further financial support will be forthcoming from the state.

“The support also presupposes that SAS can be re-established and continue on as a financially sustainable commercial company,” said Wammen.

The news comes at a critical time for the airline, which has been encumbered by the pandemic, staff shortages, canceled flights, rising fuel prices and an impending strike by its pilots

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the aviation industry hard and SAS asked its owners in February to pump in about 6.5 billion kroner to help it turn the corner with its new strategy SAS Forward.