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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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TRAVEL NEWS

‘A game changer’: Airlines demand EU explain new border system for non-EU travellers

Industry associations representing airlines have called on European authorities to plan a “public communications campaign” to alert non-EU nationals about new requirements to enter and exit the Schengen area.

'A game changer': Airlines demand EU explain new border system for non-EU travellers

The EU Entry/Exit System (EES) will record the biometric data (finger prints and facial recognition) of non-EU citizens travelling for short stays to the Schengen area (EU countries minus Ireland, Romania and Bulgaria, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), each time they cross the external borders.

Fully digital, the system will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. The data collected will be kept in a centralised database shared among the Schengen countries.

The EES was created to tighten up border security and will ensure the enforcement of the 90-day limit in any 180-day period for tourists and visitors. But it requires changes in the infrastructure at the external borders, including airports, and the setting up of a new digital infrastructure to connect authorities in participating countries.

Its entry into operation has already been delayed several times. The latest date for the EES launch was May this year, but last week European authorities decided to postpone it again “due to delays from the contractors”. It is now expected to enter into force at the end of 2023, as The Local reported this week.

Airline associations including European region of Airports Council International (ACI), Airlines for Europe (A4E), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the delay and said further preparations are needed.

“The EES will be a game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed. There are, however, a number of issues which must be resolved to ensure a smooth roll out and operation of the new system so that air passengers do not face disruptions,” a joint statement says.

Things to be resolved include a “wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at national border crossing points by national authorities, funding by member states to ensure a sufficient number of trained staff and resources are deployed to manage the EU’s external border, particularly at airports,” and the “deployment of sufficient resources” to help airports and airlines with new procedures.

Airlines also said there needs to be a public communications campaign to inform non-EU citizens about the changes.

In addition, industry groups called on EU-LISA, the agency responsible for managing the system, to “strengthen communication” with airlines and with international partners such as the US “to ensure IT systems are connected and compatible.”

The decision to postpone the EES entry into operation until after the summer “will give airlines, airports and EU and national authorities the opportunity to resolve these issues and ensure the system is fully tested,” the statement continues.

The EU-LISA is currently preparing a revised timeline for the launch, which will be presented for approval at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, the meeting of responsible EU ministers, in March 2023.

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.

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