The list of pandemic airline bankruptcies keeps growing even as travel bounces back faster than anticipated. But hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars in government aid didn't save SAS, which became the latest victim Tuesday.
One of Europe’s largest airlines, SAS, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, becoming the latest financial casualty in global aviation.
During the first few months following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, the industry experienced a rash of bankruptcies. In some cases, these bankruptcies resulted in restructurings and, in others, they led to complete shutdowns.
The list would have been a lot longer were it not for huge amounts of government aid. How huge? Trade group the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last fall estimated the figure at $243 billion, consisting of everything from wage subsidies to credit support to tax breaks. Some governments were more generous than others and in places where the generosity was lacking, like Latin America, airline bankruptcies were rife.
The pace of bankruptcies have slowed this year. But they haven’t stopped, just look at Comair in South Africa. The SAS filing comes in the middle of the carrier’s peak summer season, which is unusual. But with pilots on strike, there was not much of an alternative.
|Flybe (UK)||Files for Bankruptcy||Mar 2020|
|Trans States (U.S.)||Ceased Operations||Apr 2020|
|Compass (U.S.)||Ceased Operations||Apr 2020|
|CityJet (Ireland)||Files for Bankruptcy||Apr 2020|
|Virgin Austraila||Files for Bankruptcy||Apr 2020|
|Air Mauritius||Files for Bankruptcy||Apr 2020|
|Avianca (Colombia)||Files for Bankruptcy||May 2020|
|Aeromexico||Files for Bankruptcy||Jun 2020|
|Thai Airways||Files for Bankruptcy||Sep 2020|
|TAME (Ecuador)||LIquidation||May 2020|
|LATAM (Chile)||Files for Bankruptcy||May 2020|
|SunExpress Deustchland||Announces Ceasing Operations||Jun 2020|
|One Airlines (Chile)||Ceased Operations||Jun 2020|
|NokScoot (Thaiand)||Ceases Operations||Jun 2020|
|LIAT (Antigua)||Ceases Most Operations||Jun 2020|
|Jet Time (Denmark)||Files for Bankruptcy||Jul 2020|
|Virgin Atlantic (UK)||Files for Bankruptcy||Aug 2020|
|AirAsia Japan||Ceases Operations||Oct 2020|
|Cathay Dragon (Hong Kong)||Ceases Operations||Oct 2020|
|Ravn Air (U.S.)||Files for Bankruptcy||Oct 2020|
|Norwegian Air||Files for Bankruptcy||Nov 2020|
|Czech Airlines||Files for Bankruptcy||Mar 2021|
|InterJet (Mexico)||Files for Bankruptcy||Apr 2021|
|Philippine Airlines||Files for Bankruptcy||Sep 2021|
|Blue Panorama (Italy)||Ceased Operations||Oct 2021|
|Comair/Kulula (South Africa)||Ceased Operations||Jun 2022|
|SAS||Files for Bankruptcy||Jul 2022|
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Photo credit: SAS wants to use its bankruptcy to speed the renewal of its fleet. Michael Kidmose / Copenhagen Airports