Pilots and management at SAS have worked out a compromise, ending a two-week strike that resulted in thousands of flight cancellations and delays. Travelers booked on SAS in the weeks ahead should expect their flights to operate smoothly, barring any unforeseen weather events.
SAS Pilot Strike Ends – Normal Operations To Resume By Next Week
SAS operations have been crippled for the last 15 days, with pilots from the Scandinavia division refusing to work as they negotiated for a better contract. During this time, SAS preemptively declaring bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court as it seeks to reorganize its debt and assets.
Harsh words were exchanged between management pilots, with SAS blaming the pilots for the bankruptcy:
“A strike at this point is devastating for SAS and puts the company’s future together with the jobs of thousands of colleagues at stake. The decision to go on strike now demonstrates reckless behavior from the pilots’ unions and a shockingly low understanding of the critical situation that SAS is in.”
Martin Lindgren, SAS Pilot Group chairman, countered:
“We have finally realized that SAS doesn’t want an agreement. SAS wants a strike. We hope we will be able to return to the negotiating table and meet, but it requires that the employer makes a move.”
Scandinavian pilots objected to their jobs being replaced by lower-paid pilots from other parts of Europe and particularly objected to a decision by SAS not to hire pilots who were laid off during the pandemic.
But after two weeks of intense negotiations in which SAS claims it lost €9-12 million per day, a deal was struck with pilots.
A statement from SAS confirmed the strike was over:
“After 15 days of strike action, SAS and the SAS Scandinavia pilot unions have reached an agreement. The parties have agreed on new 5.5-year collective bargaining agreements and SAS Scandinavia flights will resume their regular traffic schedule as soon as possible.”
As part of the bargain, 450 legacy SAS pilots that were furloughed during the pandemic will be rehired over the next two years.
Anko van der Werff, managing director of the Swedish Airline Pilots Association (SPF), noted:
“Finally, we can resume normal operations and transport our customers on their long-awaited summer holidays. I deeply regret that so many of our passengers have been affected by this strike.”
It will take a few days to ramp up operations, but by next week you can expect your previously-scheduled SAS flight to operate normally.
The SAS pilot strike is over. Pilots and management have reached a compromise, solving the most pressing issues. As for whether the longterm issues for SAS are resolved…that remains unlikely and a work in progress.
> Read More: Why Did Scandinavian Airlines Fail? (Analysis)