Scandinavian airline SAS has announced that 1,700 of flights will be canceled in the coming months as it struggles to recover from a two-week pilots’ strike in July over collective bargaining agreements and delayed aircraft deliveries.
SAS, whose largest owners are Sweden, Denmark and Norway, grounded some 3,700 flights during the strike in July, which the airline said put the carrier’s future in doubt. Nearly 1,000 pilots went on strike between the 4th and 17th July 2022. According to Euronews, they were protesting against pay cuts asked by management to try to ensure the company’s survival. They were also protesting against the company’s decision not to rehire pilots laid off during the pandemic. Pilots and management reached an agreement but it cost the airline €9-12 million per day.
The parties have agreed on new 5.5-year collective bargaining agreements and SAS Scandinavia flights will resume their regular traffic schedule as soon as possible.SAS
“I am pleased to announce that we have now reached an agreement with the four pilot unions for SAS Scandinavia and that the strike is over,” said Swedish Airline Pilots Association managing director Anko van der Werff. According to the Swedish Airline Pilots Association, 450 pilots will be rehired under the new agreement.
SAS said the 1,700 cancelled flights, about 4% of the total number of flights, were canceled in September and October. Travelers have been informed and have been rebooked on other flights, the airline said.
“It’s about the effects of the strike, but also delayed aircraft deliveries and other factors,” an SAS spokesman said, adding that the company does not see lower demand. SAS said last week it had secured bridge financing during US Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings through a deal with US private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
The company, which even before the pandemic was losing money amid growing competition from low-cost carriers, filed for protection in July, a day after the strike began.
The Swedish government has rejected a request for more money, while Denmark has said it could forgive some of the debt and inject new funds if SAS were to find support from new private sector investors as well.