SAS says a deal was reached with pilots' unions, completing a 15-day strike

During a 15-day strike, SAS reached a deal with pilots' unions

July 20, 2022: -On Tuesday, the Scandinavian airline said SAS and pilot unions reached a pay deal, ending a 15-day strike more than a new collective bargaining understanding that had become 3,700 flights and thrown the carrier’s future into doubt.

SAS filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection on the second day of the strike and said that the industrial action had cost it over $145 million and affected 380,000 passengers in the peak summer travel season.

The labor strife was current across Europe’s aviation sector. Millions of workers struggled with increasing living costs, prompting trade unions to demand higher salary increases and stage walkouts, disrupting travel.

Even before the pandemic reached, SAS failed money amid rising competition from low-cost carriers. The business’s biggest owners are Swedish and Danish taxpayers.

The airline said the new 5-1/2-year deal with four pilot unions would help it achieve part of the $700 million annual cost savings set out in a business transformation plan that includes such measures as handing back unwanted planes to lessors.

“Finally, we can continue regular operations and fly our customers on their much longed-for summer holidays,” SAS Chief Executive Anko van der Werff said in a statement. “I deeply regret that this strike has impacted so many passengers.”

The company said that some flight disruptions resume while the airline works to resume regular traffic.

SAS said the agreement with pilots involved higher productivity, increased flexibility in seasonal capacity, and a commitment, as operations ramp up until 2024 to rehire 450 pilots laid off during the pandemic.

The company said the deal would permit the airline to finalize plans to raise $700 million of new financing needed to see it through the bankruptcy protection process in the next few weeks.

SAS counted the final deal remained subject to approval by unions and a U.S. national court. It is hoped to receive that approval within a few weeks.

The airline has said earlier that the U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection process is expected to last for nine to 12 months.

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