Somewhat unexpectedly, the recent successful results from SAS have left the management team in a bit of a pickle. Now that things are going so well, some ask, is there really a reason to keep on driving change?
“From a management perspective, this is a difficult sort of challenge; to harness the energy and pride in what we’re doing at the moment while also saying ‘it’s not good enough, we need to be even better’. I think that the way to solve this is by continuing to move the ambition and continuing to create the transparency of where we stand in our industry”, says Lars.
With SAS’ proud legacy of more than 70 years in the airline industry, Lars believes that a key reason behind the airline’s current success is that customers want SAS to do well. The combination of loyal customers travelling more with SAS, especially in the leisure segment, and the ability to focus investments in the right areas and take out costs at the same time is a good cocktail. “We want to find the balance between giving our customers exactly what they are asking for and a little bit extra. But not by putting in all of those extra bells and whistles that they are not interested in”.
Not only does SAS play an important role to its investors, its employees and the many companies supplying SAS with everything from food to spare parts, but it also plays an important role in bringing the Nordics closer to the rest of the world. “This is the infrastructure that brings Scandinavia to the world; that interlinks Scandinavia. If SAS were not here, would someone else come in and fill their shoes? To some extent, yes, but not with the network we have today. You would not be able to go to and from Scandinavia non-stop into the world”.
To Lars, SAS’ unique position as Scandinavia’s leading airline means that it has a vital role to play in society; an important role for culture, for finance, for commerce, politically and for the quality of life of Scandinavian travellers.
“I think that drives many of my colleagues. It certainly drives me”.
READ MORE STORIES FROM THE QVARTZ ANNUAL 2017