Inspiration Tour to London

This week we did an inspiration tour to London in order to prepare and get ideas for one of our biggest annual events, Meeting & Event Exchange that takes place in Oslo each January.

This event has been organised for more than 20 years, and this past January the concept was completely renewed to a lounge concept. This proved to be the right decision, and the next Meeting & Event Exchange in Oslo will take place at the wonderful Oslo Opera House on 25th January 2017. We expect more than 500 attendees altogether. Click here to read more about it.

On the tour with us we had one of the leading Norwegian restaurant companies Fursetgruppen, as well as Norwegian Promotion Group NPG that is a market leader in exhibition communication, design and construction of exhibition stands. Fursetgruppen is a group that has 21 restaurants in Oslo, one of them the 3 Michelin star restaurant Maaemo. Both NPG and Fursetgruppen are members of HSMAI and also close partners for the Meeting & Event Exchange at the Oslo Opera House in January 2017.

On the tour we spent quite some time in the new SAS Gold Lounge at Oslo Gardemoen airport – thank you to SAS for the wonderful special service and ideas you gave us.

In London we stayed at the citizenM Tower of London hotel that opened this July. Thank you to Lennert at citizenM for sponsoring all the rooms for us. What a great innovative hotel and with such a fantastic view!

We also tested some executive and club lounges in some of the major hotel chains’ hotels as well as great restaurants in London in order to get inspiration and ideas for our event. We will do a Meeting & Event Exchange also in London and Frankfurt. More information will follow.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Ingunn Hofseth. Thumbnail

Warm regards,
Ingunn Hofseth
President & CEO
HSMAI Region Europe


Top photo: Marianne Nygård-Hansen, Head of Marketing & Communication Fursetgruppen; Erling Sjøen Mikkelsen, General Manager Restauranthuset Operaen; Ingunn Hofseth, President & CEO HSMAI Region Europe; Linda Ramberg, Project Manager HSMAI Region Europe; Kristian Lerø, Project Manager NPG.

SAS from red to black numbers

As the SAS management presented its year-end report for November 2014 to October 2015 on Wednesday, it soon became clear that the group has accomplished many an airline’s dream nowadays, namely turning red numbers into black.

Last year’s income before tax were MSEK -918, whereas this year’s income has grown to MSEK 1,417.

Other key figures are (last year’s figures in parentheses):

Income before tax and nonrecurring items: MSEK 1,174 (-697)
Revenue: MSEK 39,650 (38,006)
Unit revenue (PASK) increased 3.8% [1]
Unit cost (CASK) increased 3.3% [2]
EBIT margin: 5.6% (0.4%)
Net income for the period: MSEK 956 (-719)
Earnings per common share: SEK 1.84 (-3.03)

Mr. Rickard Gustafson, appointed SAS' new president and CEO (photo from SAS)
Mr. Rickard Gustafson, SAS’ president and CEO (photo from SAS)

“SAS reported positive income before tax and nonrecurring items of MSEK 1,174 for the 2014/2015 fiscal year. This was a significant year-on-year improvement, primarily driven by our commercial successes, cost measures and, in the fourth quarter, by lower jetfuel costs. During the year, we have implemented extensive improvements aimed at frequent travelers and these have delivered clear results. However, the unit cost after adjustments for currency and jet fuel increased during the year, which is unsatisfactory. We now need to work even more intensively with implementation of the continued cost measures to improve our long-term competitiveness”, says Rickard Gustafson, SAS President and CEO, continuing:

“Altogether, the product enhancements and the implemented cost measures have created new preconditions enabling us to open new long-haul routes to Los Angeles, Miami and Boston next year. We know that competition will intensify moving forward, but given our improved financial position, our focused enhancement initiatives and our customers’ positive response, we have an excellent starting position. We are continuing our dedicated efforts to make life easier for our frequent travelers with time-saving and smooth journeys to sought-after destinations”.

Top photo: A Boeing 737 SAS aircraft (photograph from the SAS Group).

SAS and Apollo sign SEK 900 mill agreement

SAS and Apollo are extending their cooperation on charter flights and have signed an agreement for the 2016 summer season worth around MSEK 900. As a result, SAS will be flying Apollo’s customers from 18 locations in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark to 28 destinations across Europe, according to a press release issued by the SAS Group.

SAS and Apollo have been in partnership for about 15 years and once again Apollo has chosen SAS as its partner for a large proportion of its charter flights from Scandinavia during the 2016 summer season.

“We are very pleased that Apollo has once again chosen SAS as its flight partner. With our large fleet, we offer a good, reliable product that our nearly 30 million customers benefit from each year. We look forward to continuing to welcome Apollo’s customers on board our aircraft next year,” says Annelie Nässén, Vice President Global Sales, SAS.

Apollo has chosen SAS as their main external flight partner to complement their own airline, Novair. Thanks to SAS’s flexible fleet, Apollo is able to offer direct flights both from major cities and from regional airports in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

“We have enjoyed a long and successful cooperation with SAS and we know that they deliver a high-quality product with good punctuality, which is important in our offer to Apollo’s customers. Our partnership with SAS also gives us a great deal of flexibility, which is something we value highly,” says Leif Vase Larsen, CEO of Apollo Travel Group.

The agreement between SAS and Apollo covers flights from 18 cities in Scandinavia to 28 destinations in Europe.

Photo: A Boeing 737 SAS aircraft (photograph from the SAS Group).

SAS sells Widerøe to an investor group led by Torghatten

SAS Group has today signed an agreement to sell 80 percent of its shares in Widerøe’s Flyveselskap AS to a group of investors consisting of Torghatten ASA, Fjord1 AS and Nordland Fylkeskommune (together referred to as the “Investor Group”). SAS will retain a 20 percent share in Widerøe, but will have an option to transfer full ownership of Widerøe in 2016, according to a press release from SAS today.

The sale of Widerøe represents an important step in the improvement of SAS’ financial position with a significant reduction of SAS’ financial leverage. SAS and Widerøe will have a continued close commercial cooperation after the transaction, with Widerøe remaining an important regional partner to SAS.

As part of the transaction, SAS will sell seven Dash Q400 aircraft to Widerøe, which are currently leased by Widerøe from SAS. The loans related to these aircraft will be transferred to Widerøe. Additionally, three aircraft, currently not in use, have been sold from SAS to a lessor and subsequently leased by Widerøe.

SAS will receive approximately SEK 2.0 billion in conjunction with the divestment of Widerøe, including the aircraft-related transactions, and up to SEK 2.3 billion in total proceeds in the case of a full divestment in 2016.
The total proceeds will reduce net debt by the same amount. Additionally, the transaction will reduce the previously announced negative impact on equity of amended reporting rules for pensions by approximately SEK 1.0 billion from SEK 7.9 to SEK 6.9 billion.

The sale of Widerøe is expected to result in a limited capital loss for SAS of approximately SEK 230 million in case of a full divestment in 2016.

“This divestment is in line with the 4Excellence Next Generation strategy to build a long-term financially strong SAS. We are pleased to have developed Widerøe into a successful airline under SAS’ ownership and we look forward to continue strengthening Widerøe’s position as the leading regional airline inNorwaytogether with the new owners”, says Rickard Gustafsson, SAS Group President & CEO.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance from Norwegian competition authorities, and is expected to close in September 2013.

Brief overview of the Investor Group

The Investor Group will acquire the shares in Widerøe through a newly formed company in connection with the transaction, WF Holding AS, which will initially acquire 80 percent of the shares in Widerøe. The shareholders of WF Holding AS comprise:

Torghatten ASA, one of the leading transportation groups inNorwaywith approximately 3,000 employees.

Fjord1, Norway’s largest ferry company with approximately 1,100 employees.

Nordland Fylkeskommune, the county authority of Nordland county,Norway.

Photo: A mid-air Wideøe Dash 8-Q400 machine. Photo from Widerøes Flyevelskap AS

Lufthansa wanted as SAS owner

A Lufthansa Boeing B 737 in Frankfurt (photograph from Lufthansa)

The Scandinavian business travelers’ agree. They want Lufthansa as owner of SAS airline, regardless if they are Danish, Norwegian or Swedish. No other airline even comes close, according to a press release from Swedish analysts Resegeometri.

In Resegeometri’s Nordic independent airline study 2011 as much as 51 % of the Scandinavian business travellers point to Lufthansa as the obvious choice in the event of possible changes in the SAS ownership structure.

“There are mainly three reasons why the business travel customers would prefer Lufthansa as owner,” says Vice President Jan Borg at Resegeometri Nordic AB. “Lufthansa is considered the best guarantee of a development in line with Scandinavian interests and needs, they are believed to have the best travel alternatives in terms of destinations and schedules, and are considered to offer the best service and quality.”

15 % of the business travelers would prefer continued Inter-Scandinavian state ownership in order to secure the region’s interests.

10 % consider AirFrance/KLM the best alternative, 8 % British Airways and 6 % Finnair.

Photograph: A Lufthansa Boeing B 737 in Frankfurt (photograph from Lufthansa)

SAS Norway’s Travel Marketer of The Year 2010

Master of ceremonies Nicholas E. Carlie (centre) surrounded by a select number of SAS representatives, among whom head of marketing Camilla Forberg (left), in Oslo's Dizzie Show theatre. Photographers: Catharine Wandrup/Knut Joner

SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) was named Norway’s Travel Marketer of The Year in a landslide during last week’s HSMAI Awards in Norway’s capital, Oslo, followed by entertainment and mingling, both in the theatre itself and, later on, the nearby Grand Hotel.

Representatives from the airline entered the stage not once, but seven times during the awards night, with a turnout of more than 500 festive participants from all parts of the country’s travel and hospitality industry. With a solid and steadfast marketing strategy SAS secured first prize in the categories for mixed media and single media campaigns, Internet advertising and TV commercials, in addition to honourable mention in printed advertising.

Add to that the airlines’ customer proximity, setting an example for the entire industry, by effective use of social media in its handling of crises, and the jury was left with no option but to name SAS Norway’s Travel Marketer of The Year 2010.

Our warmest congratulations to SAS, whose impressive victory was very well deserved indeed.

Photo: Master of ceremonies Nicholas E. Carlie (centre) surrounded by a select number of SAS representatives, among whom head of marketing Camilla Forberg (left), in Oslo’s Dizzie Show theatre. Photographers: Catharine Wandrup/Knut Joner

New SAS president and CEO

Mr. Rickard Gustafson, appointed SAS' new president and CEO (photo from SAS)

The Board of Directors of SAS AB has appointed Rickard Gustafson as the new President and CEO of SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System). Gustafson is 46 years old and currently the CEO of the insurance company Codan/Trygg-Hansa, according to a press release issued by the airline.

“Rickard Gustafson is an experienced leader, with extensive international experience, who has demonstrated that he can generate good results. As the current CEO of Codan/Trygg-Hansa, he has Nordic responsibility, and also has broad experience of strategy development, marketing and process optimisation from both Codan/Trygg-Hansa and GE Capital. The entire board agrees that Gustafson is the right person to take on the challenges in SAS, and to continue the implementation of the Core SAS strategy and ensure profitable growth,” says Fritz Schur, chairman of the SAS Board.

Rickard Gustafson is a graduate engineer, with a focus on industrial economy, from the Institute of Technology at Linköping University. He is married and a father of two.

“SAS is a special and unique Scandinavian company. A great deal has been accomplished in recent years to create a platform for the future. I look forward to developing the company further, together with all employees at SAS,” says Mr. Gustafson.

The current President and CEO, Mats Jansson, will leave his position on October 1, 2010. Rickard Gustafson will assume his position at SAS not later than March 2011. Until then, the Deputy CEO, John Dueholm, will be acting President and CEO.

Photo: Mr. Rickard Gustafson, appointed SAS’ new president and CEO (photo from SAS)