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SAS pilots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark to strike after talks break down

Some 900 pilots from airline SAS in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, are set to hold strike action after the company and the pilots' unions failed to reach an agreement before Monday afternoon's deadline. Some 45,000 passengers could be affected daily.

An SAS aircraft
SAS pilots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark will go on strike. File photo: an aircraft of the Scandinavian airline (SAS) parked on the tarmac at the airport of Manchester in England. Photo by Christof Stache / AFP.

Scandinavian airline SAS and pilots’ unions in Norway, Denmark and Sweden have failed to reach an agreement to prevent a strike, meaning 900 pilots will go on strike this week.

“How on earth is a strike in the busiest week of the last two-and-a-half years going to help us find and attract investors,” SAS chief executive Anko van der Werff told reporters, criticising what he called a “strike culture” among pilots.

SAS and unions had set a deadline of midday Monday to strike a deal. The strike comes after the two parties agreed to extend the deadline for talks several times in the hopes of coming to an agreement.

The pilots are employed by SAS’s parent company, SAS Scandinavia, and announced strike action because they are unsatisfied with their salary and working conditions.

“We deeply regret that our customers are affected by this strike, leading to delays and cancelled flights,” van der Werff said in a statement.

In addition, the pilots are dissatisfied 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.

The airline says that 30,000 passengers a day could be affected and 50 percent of all flights could be affected. It is unclear how long the strike will last. Swedish newswire TT reports that as many as 45,000 passengers could be affected. 
 

Pilots will begin striking once they return to the airport they operate out of. SAS said that it expected all pilots to be out on strike within 24 hours. 

Travellers can check the status of their flight and the likelihood of it being cancelled here. An information centre for affected passengers has been set up at Oslo Gardermoen Airport by SAS and Avinor, which operates Norwegian airports. 

READ MORE: What can SAS passengers do if their flight is affected by pilots’ strike?

Member comments

  1. What is happening here is a disgrace.
    SAS pilots had an agreement whereby a promise to be reinstated of they lost their jobs during the pandemic. This promise was to run for 5 years.
    Other European airlines, like mine, Air France, where pumped gazillions of euros by the state. Just like Lufthansa did, many were invited to leave with a hefty financial incentive, all the while SAS was throwing 40 % of its workforce on the street.
    Then, forget the agreement, SAS starts hiring new pilots in an Irish working agreement kind of shell, of course much cheaper.
    And one is surprised to see these guys striking ?
    Pilots do not have a strike culture, tu they get mighty cranky when one’s word isn’t kept.
    What is happening is this CEO own making.
    You did it……gave the music now.

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SAS

Struggling Scandinavian carrier SAS gets $700 mn 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 $700 mn 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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