With losses at SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK, Copenhagen Kastrup) rising further, it now says it needs more time to complete Chapter 11 and now expects to end its bankruptcy protection process in the United States in the second half of 2023.

The embattled carrier, which filed for Chapter 11 restructuring in early July in an ongoing battle to cut costs and debt, said in its latest results for the fourth quarter (August-October 2022), released on November 30, that its pretax loss for the period ballooned to SEK1.701 billion kronor (USD161.2 million) from SEK945 million (USD89.6 million) a year earlier. However, its revenue almost doubled to SEK10.65 billion (USD1 billion).

The loss also increased over the full-year period (November 2021 to October 2022), to SEK7.846 billion (USD745 million) from SEK6.525 billion (USD619 million).

“SAS currently targets completing its court-supervised process in the US during the second half of 2023, the implementation of which is likely to entail additional legal proceedings in other jurisdictions than the US. As a result, there is no assurance that there will be any recovery for the shareholders of SAS AB,” the carrier said in the annual report.

However, it stressed that it “expects that its operations will be unaffected by such legal proceedings and that it will continue to serve its customers as normal.”

SAS, whose biggest owners are Sweden and Denmark, had only said in September that it hoped to conclude the Chapter 11 process within 12 months of its launch. CEO Anko van der Werff admitted to Reuters on November 30 that there had been “a little bit of delay” as “we had an internal deadline for some of the negotiations to end by October. We didn’t do that. The cabin crew [agreement] in Norway for instance was signed last night.”

The airline has also managed to renegotiate contracts with a number of aircraft lessors.

In the annual report, van der Werff nevertheless said: “Looking ahead to the next summer season, we are preparing for substantial recruitments and rehirings that have been initiated in order to meet the expected increased future demand.”

In an interview with the Danish-language travel news site MobilityWatch, also on November 30, SAS’s chief operating officer, Simon Pauck Hansen, said that the carrier is currently working to prepare for a so-called “validation process” the company will soon face with the New York-based fund Apollo Global Management.

Earlier this year, Apollo agreed to provide interim financing of USD700 million to the airline. SAS has already gained access to half of the amount, Pauck Hansen said, but can only gain access to the other half when the private-equity firm validates a minimum of 90% of the savings that the carrier either has or will make in its cost-cutting plan SAS Forward - a plan that must ensure annual savings of SEK7.5 billion (USD713 million).

“We are not talking about having realised or completed all parts, but we must have a plan that is fully validated by the counterparty,” namely Apollo, Pauck Hansen said.