UPDATE 1-Airline SAS traffic rises in June

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STOCKHOLM, July 6 (Reuters) - Scandinavian airline SAS SAS.STSAS.ST said on Friday group traffic (revenue passenger kilometres) rose 6.6 percent year-on-year in June after a rise of 1.7 percent the previous month.

The total load factor, a measure of how efficiently it filled planes, fell 0.1 percentage points to 76.4 percent in June.

The yield for May, the latest month available, was up 7.6 percent. The airline said it expected June yields to rise in line or slightly less than in May.

It repeated that it saw continued growth in the airline market, while the yield environment was favourable. But it repeated that uncertainties remained about the strength of future growth and jet fuel prices.

Shares in SAS were up 0.3 percent at 0930 GMT, slightly outperforming the wider Stockholm market .OMXSPI.

SAS has slashed costs and restructured over the last five years in an effort to address competition from no-frills airlines and soaring fuel costs.

In June, the airline -- half-owned by Sweden, Norway and Denmark -- outlined its latest plan to get back on track.

SAS will concentrate on its core business -- flying to, from and within Northern Europe -- and sell off non-core operations, such as its Spanair unit, Air Greenland and its 20 percent stake in UK carrier bmi [BMID.UL].

The airline aims to boost pretax profit to about 4 billion Swedish crowns ($593 million) by 2011 and to cut costs by 2.8 billion. Pretax profit for 2006 was 292 million crowns.

Spanair traffic rose 17.6 percent in June compared with the same month last year. However, SAS said that industrial action by cabin attendants resulted in lower bookings during the month and 60 cancelled flights.

((Editing by Rory Channing; Stockholm Newsroom, tel: +46-8-700 1017, e-mail:

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