Increased sick leave forces Nordic airline SAS to cancel flights

Scandinavian airline SAS said Wednesday that higher than normal sick leave among staff, due to Covid and associated recommendations, had contributed to a wave of flight cancellations.

“We have employees who are either ill, have symptoms or have someone in their household who is ill, and are therefore staying home given current recommendations,” said SAS spokeswoman Freja Annamatz.

“Just like other businesses, we are experiencing increased sick leave, which is part of the reason that we have had to cancel flights.”

Technical issues in some cases and a strike in Frankfurt had also compounded the issue, she said.

The Nordic carrier had to cancel nine flights out of Stockholm’s Arlanda airport on Wednesday, and some 30 flights worldwide the day before.

But she added that, during one of busiest times of the year with around 600 flights a day, the vast majority of planes were still departing as planned.

The airline’s website shows at the time of writing six cancelled flights out of Copenhagen on December 22nd on services to Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm, Frankfurt, San Francisco and Newark.

No cancellations were showing in departures from Billund, Aalborg or Aarhus airports.

From Oslo, SAS flights to Trondheim, Stavanger, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Paris and Manchester were cancelled on December 22nd.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


SAS pilots approve new collective agreement

93 percent of Danish SAS pilots have approved the agreement that ended strike action last month.

SAS pilots approve new collective agreement

93 percent of the Danish SAS pilots have voted yes to an agreement which ended strike action but also means, among other things, redeployments, longer working weeks and lower wages.

This was announced by Dansk Metal on Saturday morning. The pilots could have voted yes or no on the new collective agreement until midnight on Friday evening.

Pilots in Sweden and Norway have also approved the agreement.

Keld Bækkelund Hansen, head of negotiations at Dansk Metal, said “I am incredibly happy. It is a bit atypical to see that a collective agreement negotiation ends in agreements being made that reduce wages and conditions.”

“So of course it was exciting how our members viewed the new collective agreement. But they could also see that it was a necessity in relation to SAS’s situation,” he added.

The agreement comes after months of tug-of-war that finally saw SAS and the striking pilots reach a collective agreement on 19 July. It helped end a two-week strike.

Part of the background to the conflict between SAS and the pilots was that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, SAS dismissed around half of its pilots.

With the new collective agreement, however, all 450 dismissed pilots will be offered re-employment in the future.

At the same time, SAS pilots will see a 25 percent pay cut, and the limit for the workload is raised from 47 hours to 60 hours per week.

But even with strike action over and a collective agreement supported by pilots, the problems are far from over for SAS, which has suffered major financial losses during the conflict.

Currently, the airline plans to begin a reconstruction in the United States under bankruptcy protection in a so-called Chapter 11 process.

Bankruptcy protection will mean that SAS can continue to operate and pay wages while the process is ongoing.

SAS is seeking financing of up to $700 million- slightly more than DKK 5.1 billion.

SAS press manager Alexandra Lindgren Kaoukji said in a statement: “We are very happy and look forward to continuing our ongoing Chapter 11 process and our work to ensure a strong and sustainable airline for many years to come.The positive result of the vote will help SAS to attract long-term investors while we go through the Chapter 11 process and work further with the SAS Forward plan.”