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SAS expects 80 percent of stranded passengers to return home by Wednesday

Scandinavian airline SAS says that it expects four out of five charter tourists who are still stranded at their destinations to be returned home by Wednesday following the resolution of a pilots’ strike.

SAS expects 80 percent of stranded passengers to return home by Wednesday
Check in information at Copenhagen Airport July 19th. Airline SAS is working to return stranded passengers following the conclusion of a pilots' strike. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

SAS and pilots’ trade unions on Tuesday announced an agreement had been reached over a new collective bargaining agreement for the pilots’ working terms, bringing to an end a two-week that has cost the airline millions and seen hundreds of passengers stranded.

Although the strike has ended, SAS said it would be several days before services returned to full capacity and that already-cancelled flights would remain cancelled.

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Four in five of passengers who are still stranded will be home by Wednesday evening, SAS said earlier on Wednesday.

Following the announcement of the agreement, the airline said 3,000 passengers were still unable to get home. As such, 2,400 are expect to have made their return trips by the end of Wednesday.

The estimate was given by SAS’ head of media communications in Denmark, Alexandra Lindgren Kaoukji.

Around half of the 3,000 stranded tourists were said to be Danish with most of them at Mediterranean destinations, according to Kaoukji.

The 600 remaining passengers are expected to arrive home in the next few days.

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TRAVEL

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.”

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