Coronavirus: Sweden demands tougher emissions goals for SAS bailout

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The airline presents a recapitalisation plan to its government owners but at least one wants to attach conditions.

By Sharon Marris, News reporter @JournoKiwi


Sweden has said an offer of support for SAS would be dependent on the airline agreeing to tougher emissions goals.

SAS is owned by the governments of Sweden and Denmark, with 14.8% and 14.2% respectively, and the remaining shares held by private investors.

The airline presented a recapitalisation plan on Monday, revealing that it needs about 12.5bn Swedish krona (£1.07bn) to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

Sweden’s leaders said they would ask parliament for up to 5bn krona and to increase its stake in the airline.

Financial markets minister Per Bolund said it would be conditional on tougher emissions goals, adding: “Let me be clear, Sweden will only go in with capital to SAS if clear, quantitative targets for reduced emissions are set in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree goal.”

Denmark is also backing the recapitalisation but did not say how much it will contribute, only saying it “must be matched by a fair share of ownership”.

SAS has also sought support from Norway, which sold its shares in the airline two years ago, and private investors.

The airline said in a statement: “The aim of the plan is to ensure that SAS is fully funded and that shareholders’ equity will be at levels reported before the COVID-19 pandemic when anticipated business volumes return to pre-corona levels in 2022.”

SAS’s financial loss before tax for the February to April quarter was around three times the loss it reported at the same time the previous year.

Earlier this month, there was criticism after the Bank of England gave hundreds of millions of pounds to airlines British Airways, easyjet, Ryanair and Wizz Air without attaching environmental – or other – conditions.

The emergency funding was intended to help the sector survive the devastating economic effect of the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, German airline Lufthansa is trying to reach agreements with employee representatives on how it can cut thousands of jobs.

The cuts would affect almost 5,000 jobs in flight operations – 600 pilots, 2,600 flight attendants and 1,500 ground staff, with more jobs to be axed from administration and at its headquarters.

The airline said: “We want to keep as many colleagues on board as possible throughout the crisis and avoid layoffs.”

It is hoped the agreements can be reached by 22 June.

In May, Lufthansa agreed a €9bn (£8bn) rescue deal with the German government, which gives it a 20% share in the ailing airline.



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