A senior Lufthansa executive, Karsten Bentz, refused to comment on rumours that the German airline is eying SAS for purchase, but daily Jyllands-Posten cited him as saying that there were frequent talks between the two.
"After the German and the Italian markets, the Scandinavian market is the most important for Lufthansa," he said. "We want to take an active part in the consolidation that is taking place in the European airline industry, and that subject is often the focus of Lufthansa management meetings," he added.
At the end of November, a Lufthansa spokeswoman reaffirmed the company's interest in taking over SAS, but Friday's interview marked the first time an executive has acknowledged official talks between the two groups.
SAS meanwhile saw its share price soar 13.46 percent in afternoon trading on the Stockholm stock exchange, which was up 3.26 percent, apparently in response to Standard & Poor's raising its rating for the group from "hold" to "strong buy," according to Dow Jones Newswires.
The German airline has long been mentioned as a rescuer for SAS, a partner in the Star Alliance, and in September, analysts said it was possible Lufthansa would make an offer for the Scandinavian company.