Scandinavian airline SAS grounds more flights as pilot strike continues - International

Scandinavian airline SAS grounds more flights as pilot strike continues - International

Scandinavian airline SAS grounds more flights as pilot strike continues - International

SAS, the joint flag carrier of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, said a further 110,000 passengers would be affected by the cancellations on Monday and Tuesday after a pilot strike left 170,000 travelers stranded on the weekend.

SAS pilots went on strike on Friday amid a deadlock in talks on wages, as the company has been cutting costs in a move to compete with regional low-priced airlines such as Norwegian Air and Ryanair.

Pilots from all three Scandinavian countries are taking part in the strike, demanding better pay and working conditions, including more predictable schedules. "On Tuesday 49,000 passengers and 546 departures will be affected".

One of two SAS pilot unions in Norway, Norsk Pilotforbund, said that it had had no contact with the airline, as did the chairman of the Swedish Airline Pilots Association, Rawaz Germany.

"SAS is prepared to continue to negotiate, but if the requirements were to be met, they would have very negative consequences for the company", Karin Nyman, director of communications at SAS, wrote in a press release. About 70% of airline flights were canceled. "Having a list of demands that knocks off the feet of our competitiveness just doesn't work", he added.

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In Sweden, the pilots requested wage increases of 13 per cent, while mediators offered 2.3 per cent, in line with general wage hikes, which the employers accepted.

"We deeply regret that our customers have suffered from the long strike of the pilots", - reads the statement of the SAS, published on Saturday.

Financial analysts estimate that the strike cost SAS about 60-80 million SEK (6.3-8.41 million USD) per day.

SAS Scandinavia has been the traditional flag carrier for Sweden, Denmark and Norway but in the a year ago the Norwegian government sold off its remaining shares in the airline citing an opportunity for the carrier to strengthen its position with reduced state ownership.

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