“The vast majority of travellers won’t be affected by this, other than they will be rebooked to a flight within a few hours or on the same day,” press officer Karin Nyman told newspaper Dagens Industri (Di).
In total, around 5 percent of flights will be affected.
Nyman told the newspaper that the reason behind the cancellations is a staff shortage combined with delayed deliveries of new aeroplanes.
A spokesperson for SAS in Denmark also said very few passengers will even notice the cancellations, beyond the fact that some may be rebooked to a different flight.
“We’re doing this to prevent a situation this summer where it turns out we can’t fly and passengers are stranded,” Alexandra Lindgren Kaoukji, head of media relations for SAS in Denmark, told news wire Ritzau.
SAS laid off nearly half its employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ritzau writes, and is still feeling the squeeze.
Di reports that pilots’ unions have repeatedly warned of potential staff shortages this summer.
Aviation expert Jan Ohlsson agrees that staff shortages are a problem.
“SAS have loads of planes, loads of flight routes but no one flying the planes. There’s a total overcapacity,” Ohlsson told Swedish news wire TT.
He said that numerous experts have warned SAS of this situation. Despite this, SAS put even more planes, including older planes with their livery changed, into rotation. The lack of staff means that they need to hire in pilots from external companies to get the planes flying.
“SAS have put themselves in a difficult situation,” Ohlsson told TT. “I – and others with me – think that SAS should have fewer planes flying instead and should be looking at which routes they are even flying at all”.