More Flights Grounded By SAS As Pilot Strike Continues


SAS, a Scandinavian airline company, cancelled hundreds of flights that are scheduled for Sunday as a pilot strike continued on its second day, causing disruptions to the travel plans of tens of thousands of passengers.

Last Friday, the pilots of SAS went on strike as wage negotiations broke down, grounding approximately 70 percent of the flights of the airline and affecting around 170,000 people over the weekend alone.

In a statement that was released today, SAS said: “We deeply regret that our customers are affected by the ongoing pilot strike.” It also outlined its flight cancellations for the rest of the weekend.

It added: “Due to the strike another estimated 64,000 passengers will be affected (on Sunday) when 587 flights are cancelled across Scandinavia.”

The stand-off manifested little to no sign of coming near to a resolution today.

In an interview with Reuters, Torbjoern Lothe at the Norwegian Confederation of Enterprise, an employers’ association that was involved in the talks with the unions last week, stated: “We believe the unions have to face reality and resume talks.”

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.

He stated: “We are waiting for SAS to get in touch and show a real will to discuss the issues that are important to us.”

He added: “So far, they have not wanted to do that.”

A spokesperson for the Swedish National Mediation Office, whose proposed deal the pilots rejected late last Thursday, said that there were “no immediate plans” for contacts between the parties in Sweden.

SAS has already taken some steps such as offering free food to the passengers who are waiting to look for alternative flights at airports across Scandinavia, however, several travellers complained on social media that they were not able to reach the customer services of the airline.

On Twitter, a passenger wrote: “Hey SAS I’ve been trying to contact you for a day now.”

SAS responded: “Our customer service is answering the phone as fast as they can. Try again.”

The flag carrier is partly-owned by the Danish and Swedish governments. It said that it is ready to resume the negotiations, however, it warned that meeting the demands of the pilots would have dreadful consequences for the company.

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. The airline said that it was offering passengers booked on flights through the 1st of May to reschedule their flights free of charge.