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UPDATE: SAS and pilots resume negotiations on new agreement

On Sunday morning, SAS resumed negotiations on a new agreement with several of the airline's pilots.

UPDATE: SAS and pilots resume negotiations on new agreement
It is hoped SAS will reach an agreement with pilot's unions before noon on Monday. Photo: JANERIK HENRIKSSON/SCANPIX SWEDEN/AFP

On Sunday morning SAS resumed negotiations with pilots in the hope of finding a solution before the extended deadline of midday on Monday. If not, it could mean that as many as a thousand pilots will go on strike.

The pilots are employed by SAS’s parent company, SAS Scandinavia, and have announced strike action because they are not satisfied with their salary and working conditions at SAS.

In addition, the pilots are dissatisfied with the fact that instead of re-employing old SAS pilots, priority is given to hiring new pilots on cheaper agreements in the two subsidiaries SAS Link and SAS Connect.

On Saturday morning, when the parties stated that they would continue the negotiations up until and including Monday at 12 noon, there was hope of being able to land an agreement.

This is according to Keld Bækkelund Hansen, head of negotiations at Dansk Metal, who is involved in the negotiations on behalf of the pilots. “The aviation industry is complicated, and therefore we need extra time to get it to the finish line,” he told TV 2. “We will do everything to ensure that we get a breakthrough.”

If the parties do not succeed in landing an agreement before the midday deadline on Monday, then there is an opportunity to choose to postpone the deadline again and continue the negotiations, something that has already happened three times in the last week.

READ ALSO: Direct talks raise hopes SAS strike can be avoided

Another possibility is that the pilots choose to strike. This will mean that a significant part of SAS’s flights will be affected by delays or cancellations.

However, pilots in SAS Link and SAS Connect are not part of the strike notice and will continue their work. SAS will, therefore, be able to continue flights.

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SAS

Struggling Scandinavian carrier SAS gets $700m loan

Ailing Scandinavian airline SAS, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States in early July, said Sunday it had secured a 700-million-dollar loan.

Struggling Scandinavian carrier SAS gets $700m loan

The move follows a crippling 15-day pilot strike, also in July, that cost the carrier between $9 and $12 million a day.

The pilots were protesting against salary cuts demanded by management as part of a restructuring plan aimed at ensuring the survival of the company.

READ ALSO: SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

SAS said it has entered “into a debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing credit agreement for $700 million with funds managed by Apollo Global Management”.

SAS had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States and said the “DIP financing, along with cash generated from the company’s ongoing operations, enables SAS to continue meeting its obligations throughout the chapter 11 process”.

“With this financing, we will have a strong financial position to continue supporting our ongoing operations throughout our voluntary restructuring process in the US,” SAS board chairman Carsten Dilling said.

SAS management announced in February the savings plan to cut costs by 7.5 billion Swedish kronor ($700 million), dubbed “SAS Forward”, which was supplemented in June by a plan to increase capital by nearly one billion euros ($1.04 billion).

Denmark and Sweden are the biggest shareholders with 21.8 percent each.

“We can now focus entirely on accelerating the implementation our SAS FORWARD plan, and to continue our more than 75-year legacy of being the leading airline in Scandinavia.”

SAS employs around 7,000 people, mainly in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. It has suffered a string of losses since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.

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