SAS strike: ‘future of airline at risk’ as pilots leave airline

As hundreds of pilots working for SAS walk out, affecting 30,000 passengers a day, the Scandinavian airline’s boss has branded the strike “reckless” – warning it puts the company’s future at risk.

From June 9, members of the pilots’ unions are threatening to take mass action. Talks between management and the unions are continuing, but SAS says those talks have broken down, adding that it wants to continue mediation and end the strike as soon as possible.

Industrial action began almost immediately, with dozens of lunch cancellations at airports in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.

The airline predicts that around half of all scheduled SAS flights will be cancelled, affecting around 30,000 passengers a day.

Flights operated by partner airlines SAS Link and SAS Connect are not affected.

Anka van der Werf, president and chief executive of SAS, said: “We deeply regret that our customers have been affected by this strike, which has resulted in delays and cancellations.

“We know that all of our passengers have been longing for this summer vacation and have booked trips for themselves and their loved ones.”

He accused the pilots of having a “shockingly low understanding of the critical situation in which the SAS finds itself”.

The carrier has high costs and faces stiff competition from budget airlines including easyJet, Norwegian, Ryanair and Wizz Air.

Mr van der Werf said: “A strike at this time is devastating for SAS and puts the future of the company at risk along with the jobs of thousands of colleagues.

“The decision to strike now demonstrates the reckless behavior of the pilots’ unions.

“The strike has a negative impact on the company’s liquidity and financial position, and if it continues, the impact could be significant.

“We assume that the SAS Scandinavia pilot unions understand what is at stake and have decided to continue working towards an agreement.”

One of the unions involved, Svensk Pilotförening from Sweden, has long called for a change in top management. It tweeted: “SAS’s finances have been mismanaged for a long time, and instead of addressing real problems, management has repeatedly asked owners for money. [sic].

“Will SAS’s finances improve if the same people in management keep doing the same things?”

Passengers unable to transfer to unaffected SAS flights can “make alternative arrangements for their own travel and claim compensation from SAS”.

The airline warned: “Due to peak season, the ability to rebook affected customers on equivalent flights will be very limited.”

SAS normally operates from London Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen to a number of Scandinavian cities.

SAS strike: ‘future of airline at risk’ as pilots leave airline

Source link SAS strike: ‘future of airline at risk’ as pilots leave airline

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