SAS strike grounds another 1200 flights

Oscar PerryApr 30, 2019

Scandinavian airline SAS has announced 1,213 flights will be cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, meaning an additional 110,000 passengers won't be able to fly. This will affect 61,000 passengers on Monday and 49,000 passengers on Tuesday.

"The strike could have been avoided, if SAS had shown a real willingness to meet us halfway", Rene Arpe, chairman of the Danish pilot union, said on Friday.

SAS pilots went on strike on Friday amid a deadlock in talks on wages, as the company has been cutting costs in a move to compete with regional low-priced airlines such as Norwegian Air and Ryanair.

"We believe the unions have to face reality and resume talks", Torbjoern Lothe at the Norwegian Confederation of Enterprise, an employers' association involved in the negotiations with the unions last week, told Reuters. The statement said that the strike will last until the end of the weekend. "Flights operated by SAS' partners will not be affected by the strike", SAS wrote in a press release.

The SAS has taken steps such as offering free food to passengers waiting to find alternative flights at airports.

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The strike began after the collapse of pay negotiations with the SAS Pilot Group, which represents 95% of the company's pilots in the three countries.

SAS, part-owned by Sweden and Denmark, warned that agreeing to the pilots' demands would seriously damage the airline's recovery prospects.

Sydbank analysts have estimated the strike is costing the airline 60-80 million Swedish crowns ($6.3-$8.4 million) per day, a rate that would wipe out the expected net profit this year in just two weeks. So far, 673 flights have been canceled, affecting 72,000 passengers.

But the Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises insists it can not accept a demand for a 13-percent wage increase, given their "already high average wage of 93,000 kronor (8,766 euros, $9,769) a month".

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