SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) has announced they are forced to conduct massive employee furloughs due to the coronavirus situation at a press conference outside Stockholm today.
The coronavirus situation is currently devastating the airlines. Richard Gustafsson, CEO of Scandinavian Airlines said,
“An airline without revenue cannot survive for long. We will survive for a while, but it’s hard to say for how long.”
Gustafsson said SAS is experiencing a crisis which they must adjust to. SAS has sent out furlough notices to its employees, effective Monday, March 16.
“Governments’ steps to protect its citizens have resulted in low demand for airline tickets. SAS will be halting flights and prioritizing routes where there is still demand.”
In spite of a massive amount of furloughs, the CEO said they (SAS) do not want to lay off employees.
Gustafsson points out he is hoping the employee furlough-situation won’t last long. The goal is to get through the coronavirus situation as soon as possible.
“We want to get back to flying as soon as possible.”
SAS ticket refunds
According to Gustafsson, SAS customers cannot be guaranteed a ticket refund at this time. Passengers are asked to contact the airline for inquiries.
Norwegian Air is also furloughing
Meanwhile struggling Norwegian Air announced it is furloughing 50 percent of its workforce, which amounts to 5,000 employees.
The statement was issued last Friday, at a press conference held by Norwegian CEO Jacob Scram.
Norwegian, however, is in a much worse position financially than SAS. Norwegian is expected to run out of cash in a matter of a couple of weeks, unless, the airline receives an injection of money.
The Norwegian government has funds in place for bailouts to prevent its infrastructure from collapsing. It remains to be seen if this could be the savior of Norwegian Air.
What do you think about the decisions of SAS and Norwegian to temporarily mass-furlough employees to attempt to save the airlines from collapsing during the coronavirus pandemic? You can contact us here.
Contributing/cooperating journalist: Per Olsen in Oslo, Norway.
Featured Image: SAS CEO Ricard Gustafsson. SAS.