SAS forced to change US-bound flight crews to comply with Trump’s entry ban

Scandinavian airline SAS has had to adjust its staffing on US-bound flights in order to comply with US President Donald Trump’s entry ban targeting the nationals of seven predominately Muslim countries.

SAS forced to change US-bound flight crews to comply with Trump's entry ban
A SAS spokeswoman said that the airline has had to switch dual citizens off US-bound flights. Photo: SAS
A SAS spokeswoman told Danish news agency Ritzau that Trump’s hotly-debated ban “has meant changes for our personnel”. 
“We are moving personnel with dual citizenship who can have problems entering the US over to other routes,” Mariam Skovfoged said. 
“It is comprehensive work, but we are of course doing it because we follow the laws and rules that are in place,” she added. 
Trump on Friday signed an executive order banning citizens from the Muslim-majority countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days.
Additionally, Trump suspended the US refugee resettlement programme for 120 days and put an indefinite stop to the acceptance of Syrian refugees. 
The Danish Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Danes who also have citizenship from the seven blacklisted countries are also affected by the entry ban. 
SAS’s Swedish spokesman, Ferdrik Henriksson, said that there have been two cases thus far when a Sweden-based flight was forced to change personnel to comply with the new rules. 
Norway-based flight personnel are likely to be less affected by the rules as Norwegian immigration law only allows for dual citizenship in certain limited circumstances
However, a Danish spokesman for budget carrier Norwegian said that the airline is also acutely aware that the new US regulations apply to flight crew as well. 
“We are closely following the situation and responding to the information that is coming from the American authorities,” Daniel Kirchhoff told Ritzau. 
SAS has announced that it will refund tickets purchased before January 28th by any dual citizens who are affected by Trump’s executive order. 
SAS is partially owned by the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish states. Sweden owns 17 percent of the airline, while Denmark owns 14 percent and Norway 11 percent.


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.