SAS pilot strike, threatening to leave 170,000 passengers stranded!

If you are traveling towards either Denmark, Norway and/or Sweden, pay close attention as your travel plans could be disrupted before you get out the door.

The airline native to Scandinavia as of today (Friday, April 26, 2019) went on strike in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden which could threaten to leave as much as 170,000 passengers this weekend.

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

The airline has canceled ahead of the strike as much as 70% of its scheduled flight in curtailing the wave of strikes on the individual routes.

Besides, SAS has been renewing its aging fleet and cutting costs as Norwegian Air Shuttle and Ryanair mount fierce competition towards the Star Alliance member in the Scandinavia’s.

Airline passengers affected

At airports throughout Denmark, Norway and Sweden passengers were inquiring about their cancellations and whether the airline could help. “This strike delays everything,” said the Mexican tourist Carmen Sosa, 50, who was stranded at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport.

Financial consequences

In the Stockholm Stock Exchange SAS share were trading 4.7% lower today which it said they hope to resume negotiations and get to an agreement as soon as possible.

“As a consequence of the strike, domestic, European and long-haul flights have been canceled. Thousands of travelers will be affected,” the company said in a statement.

As company representatives continue to hammer out a deal. But they said that if the pilots’ requirements were to be met, they would have “very negative consequences” for the company. The strike would wipe an expected net profit for the year if it lasts for more than two weeks.

Analysts at Sydbank (a Danish bank) expect the strike to cost about $6.3 to $8.4 million daily or (60 to 80 million Swedish crowns). A Sydbank analyst was available to respond saying that “The SAS pilots’ strike is surprising to us and makes it clear that SAS is more vulnerable than we previously expected.”

SAS Pilot Unions’ comments

Labor unions earlier this month called for 1,500 SAS pilots to go on strike today (Friday). This if no agreement was reached on wages and other issues after an earlier round of talks failed.

Pilots heard the call from their union and 1,409 pilots total across the three countries went on strike today.

Rene Arpe from the Danish pilot union said: “The strike could have been avoided if SAS had shown a real willingness to meet us halfway. Instead, we see SAS management that thinks their employees must accept worse working conditions, unpredictable working hours and insecurity about their jobs.”

The financial status of Scandinavian Airlines

The Scandinavian airline was close to bankruptcy in 2012. The airline group was forced to sell assets and cut wages and thousands of jobs for a return for a life-saving credit facility. The airline group has posted a net profit in each of the last for years.

Please check HERE on updates for the first weekend of the strike.

Please leave your comments below.

Reporting credited to Terje Solsvik and Gladys Fouche in Oslo, Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen and Esha Vaish in Stockholm for Reuters.

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