Airline SAS warns survival at stake as pilot strike grounds flights

Airline SAS warns survival at stake as pilot strike grounds flights
Airline SAS warns survival at stake as pilot strike grounds flights

  • Strike to floor roughly half of airline’s flights
  • SAS says will have an effect on about 30,000 passengers per day
  • Strike raises uncertainty of loss-making airline’s future
  • Largest airline strike since BA pilots in 2019

STOCKHOLM, July 4 (Reuters) – Wage talks between Scandinavian airline SAS (SAS.ST) and its pilots collapsed on Monday, triggering a strike that places the way forward for the service in danger and provides to journey chaos throughout Europe as the height summer season trip interval begins.

The motion is the primary main airline strike to hit when the trade is searching for to capitalise on the primary full rebound in leisure journey following the pandemic.

It follows months of acrimony between staff and administration because the airline seeks to recuperate from the impression of lockdowns with out taking up prices it believes would depart it unable to compete with lower-cost rivals.

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On the similar time, staff throughout Europe are demanding wage rises as they wrestle with surging residing prices.

A strike might price SAS some 80 million to 90 million Danish crowns ($11.2 million-$12.6 million) per day, Sydbank analyst Jacob Pedersen calculated, and the corporate’s ticket gross sales for future flights will undergo. Shares in SAS had been down 5% by 1351 GMT.

“A strike at this level is devastating for SAS and places the corporate’s future along with the roles of 1000’s of colleagues at stake,” SAS Chief Government Anko van der Werff stated in an announcement.

“The choice to go on strike now demonstrates reckless behaviour from the pilots’ unions and a surprisingly low understanding of the important scenario that SAS is in.”

Union leaders blamed SAS.

“We’ve lastly realised that SAS does not need an settlement,” SAS Pilot Group chairman Martin Lindgren informed reporters. “SAS desires a strike.”

Lindgren stated the pilots had been able to resume talks, however known as on SAS to alter its stance. “We hope we can return to the negotiating desk and meet, but it surely requires that the employer makes a transfer,” he stated.

The unions stated practically 1,000 pilots in Denmark, Sweden and Norway will be a part of the strike, which is without doubt one of the largest walkouts by airline staff since British Airways pilots in 2019 grounded many of the service’s flights in a dispute over pay.

Additional disruption looms as British Airways employees at London’s Heathrow airport in June voted to strike over pay, threatening disruption at one among Europe’s busiest aviation hubs. learn extra

As well as, Spanish-based cabin crew at Ryanair (RYA.I) and easyJet (EZJ.L) plan to strike this month to demand higher working situations and staff at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport stopped work on the weekend, forcing cancellation of about 10% of flights. learn extra

Sofia Skedung, 38, arrived at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, which like journey hubs throughout Europe has been fighting employees shortages in latest weeks, to seek out the SAS flight she and her household had been booked on for a constitution journey cancelled.

“I used to be going to go together with my household to Corfu on vacation for every week, which we actually had appeared ahead to since we’ve not travelled in a very very long time,” she stated as searched the departure corridor in useless for SAS employees.

“All the things may be very, very confused right here,” she added.

BUSIEST WEEK

Loss-making SAS is searching for to restructure its enterprise by endeavor giant price cuts, elevating money and changing debt to fairness. learn extra

“That is all about discovering traders. How on earth is a strike within the busiest week of the final 2.5 years serving to discover and appeal to traders?” van der Werff informed reporters.

The airline estimated the strike would result in the cancellation of round 50% of scheduled SAS flights and impression round 30,000 passengers per day.

The service, which is part-owned by the governments of Sweden and Denmark, final month averaged 58,000 passengers per day. It serves locations in Asia, Europe and the USA.

Denmark has stated it’s prepared to inject extra cash and write off debt on situation the airline brings personal traders on board as nicely, whereas Sweden has refused to inject extra money.

Norway offered its stake in 2018, however nonetheless holds debt within the airline, and has stated it is likely to be prepared to transform the debt into fairness. learn extra

Swedish Business Minister Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson informed native information company TT he was carefully monitoring the scenario however declined to remark additional.

Denmark’s Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen in an e-mailed remark to Reuters stated he hoped the events would attain an answer as quickly as potential.

“Collective settlement points are a matter between SAS’ administration and the staff of SAS and their organisations,” he stated.

The collective settlement between the airline and the SAS Pilot Group union expired on April 1. Months of negotiations, which started final November, have did not conclude a brand new deal.

Pilots had been angered by SAS’ determination to rent new pilots by means of two new subsidiaries – Join and Hyperlink – as a substitute of first rehiring former staff dismissed throughout the pandemic, when nearly half of its pilots misplaced their jobs.

A strike would come with all pilots from guardian firm SAS Scandinavia, however not Hyperlink and Join, a union that organises the 260 pilots hooked up to the 2 models. Neither would it not have an effect on SAS’ exterior companions Xfly, Cityjet and Airbaltic, the corporate has stated.

The corporate had already cancelled many flights forward of the summer season, a part of a wider pattern in Europe, the place, along with the upheaval of strike motion, operators have responded to employees shortages created by gradual rehiring after the pandemic.

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Further reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm, Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen and Alex Cornwall in Dubai; writing by Niklas Pollard; enhancing by Barbara Lewis and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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