SAS CEO looking at constructive ways to end pilot strike

FILE PHOTO: SAS airplanes are seen parked on the tarmac as SAS pilots go on strike at Oslo Airport in Gardermoen, Norway April 26, 2019. NTB Scanpix/Ole Berg-Rusten via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The CEO of Scandinavian airline SAS has told negotiators to thrash out what concessions the company can make to end a pilot strike that has disrupted travel plans for hundreds of thousands of passengers.

Well into the fourth day of the strike, neither employer nor unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway had yet contacted the other side, and no new talks were scheduled, SAS and the unions said.

SAS pilots went out strike on Friday as wage talks broke down, grounding around 70 percent of the airline’s flights and impacting about 280,000 passengers, including cancellations set for Monday and Tuesday.

SAS Chief Executive Rickard Gustafson told Reuters that the conflict was deeply damaging to the carrier, which remains part-owned by the governments of Sweden and Denmark.

“We simply have to put an end to this conflict, it is deeply damaging to the company, and it erodes our customers’ confidence in the company,” Gustafson said in an interview.

“I have instructed our negotiation team to continue to work on (our proposals) and see what more we can do to find constructive solutions within reason. We also need to survive after the conflict,” he added.

Sydbank analysts have estimated the strike is costing the airline 60-80 million Swedish crowns ($6.31-$8.41 million) per day, a rate which would wipe out the expected net profit this year in just two weeks.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, Terje Solsvik and Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen; editing by Niklas Pollard and Louise Heavens


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