Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) now expects to make a pre-tax profit for its current financial year, an improvement on earlier forecasts.

Previously, SAS said “it will be challenging to reach a positive result before tax and items affecting comparability in fiscal year 2019.”

However, the airline said strong passenger figures and improved unit revenue have caused it to raise its guidance. It now estimates that “earnings before tax and items affecting comparability is [sic] estimated to be in the range of SEK700-800 million ($72-$82 million) for fiscal year 2019.

Despite a challenging year, SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson said Nov. 8 said the airline saw a “strong performance across our operations during the last months of fiscal year 2019.”

He said, “We are encouraged by an improved supply/demand balance in Scandinavia and that our product offering, combined with our determined efforts toward more sustainable air travel, continues to attract more customers to fly with us.”

Total traffic capacity (scheduled plus charter flights) increased by 2.2%, while passenger numbers rose 3.6% compared to October 2018.

The Swedish domestic air market saw passenger numbers fall by around 5% earlier this year as a result of the “flight shame” phenomenon, where environmental campaigners encouraged travelers not to fly. However, airline execs reported there were signs in early summer that poor weather in Scandinavia had resulted in a groundswell of late bookings for warm-weather destinations.

Alan Dron