Scandinavian airline SAS grounds more flights as pilot strike continues

Daniel Fowler
April 29, 2019

SAS said it was cancelling hundreds of flights scheduled for Sunday as a pilot strike at the Scandinavian airline entered its second day on Saturday.

Domestic flights in the Nordic region as well to European and long-haul destinations were disrupted.

"We deeply regret that our customers are affected by the ongoing pilot strike that has led to delays and cancelled flights", SAS said in a statement.

The carrier estimates the strike has affected some 170,000 passengers over the weekend.

The strike of the SAS pilots does not affect flights that are operated by its partners, which make up approximately 30 percent of all departures.

There is no sign of when talks might resume on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The flag carrier, which is part-owned by the Swedish and Danish governments, has said it is prepared to resume negotiations but warned that meeting pilots' demands would have dire consequences for the company.

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Details have not been released but the pan-Scandinavian union says it wants salaries to be in line with the market rate, while SAS negotiators have called the requests "unreasonable and extreme".

"We are waiting for SAS to get in touch and show a real will to discuss the issues that are important to us", he said.

SAS pilots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark joined the strike on Friday after wage negotiations collapsed.

While the airline is an important link across Scandinavia, it also has long-haul worldwide flights to the US and Asia.

SAS has implemented repeated savings programmes in recent years to improve its profitability, after nearly going bankrupt in 2012.

Pedersen has estimated that the strike in average would cost the company between 60 million and 80 million Swedish kronor ($6.3-8.4 million) a day. The airline said that it was offering passengers booked on flights through the 1st of May to reschedule their flights free of charge.

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