Scandinavian airline SAS on Friday posted its first quarterly pretax profit since late 2019 aided by lower fuel cost, higher ticket prices and strong demand, and said it would ramp-up capacity this winter compared to a year ago.

The airline, which has been under bankruptcy protection since July of 2022, reported a profit before tax of 464 million Swedish crowns ($42.32 million) in its April-July fiscal third-quarter versus a 1.99 billion crowns loss a year earlier.

Sydbank analyst Jacob Pedersen, one of the few to still forecast SAS' quarterly earnings, said he had expected a profit of 326 million crowns.

The third quarter, covering much of the Nordic summer season, is usually one of SAS' most profitable periods of the year, alongside the August to October fiscal fourth quarter.

"We also noted strong ticket sales throughout the third quarter, indicating a healthy underlying demand for travel despite a more uncertain economic outlook in society as a whole," CEO Anko van der Werff said in a statement.

The long-struggling Nordic airline has stumbled in the recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic as labour issues, travel chaos and high cost put a dent in the airline's plan to swiftly complete bankruptcy proceedings. (Reporting by Marie Mannes, editing by Terje Solsvik)