A frustrating and expensive week for Scandinavian Airlines and many of its customers has finally come to a close following the end of the pilots’ strike.
Rickard Gustafson, the CEO of SAS, confirmed at a delayed press conference tonight what much of the media had been predicting today – that the strike would come to an end.
It will take about a day before the airline’s operations return to normal, according to the CEO.
Damage talk on May 17
Gustafson lamented that the strike, which started last Friday morning, had affected so many passengers and cost the airline dearly – an exact figure would be provided on May 17.
Thousands of SAS flights have been cancelled over the past week and hundreds of thousands of passengers have been impacted.
A new three-year wage agreement has been reached, part of which stipulates that the pilots will receive 3.5 percent more in wage. Gustafson said that the new agreement would allow for more flexibility for the airline.
UPDATE FROM THURSDAY MORNING
The SAS pilot strike, which kicked off last Friday morning and has already affected close to 382,000 passengers and seen 4,015 flights cancelled, is set to continue.
SAS is grounding another 429 flights today, taking the total number up to 709. According to the airline, a further 54,000 passengers will be affected.
The airline has also stated that there is no immediate prospect of a resolution of the conflict between pilots and the airline.
UPDATE FROM WEDNESDAY
The embattled airline announced that an accord with the pilots has not been forthcoming and a further 504 departures in Scandinavia are due to be cancelled tomorrow.
SAS estimates that an additional 47,000 passengers will need to either rebook their flights or annul them all together. Flights operated by SAS’ partners will not be affected by the strike.
“The demands made by the pilots’ unions entail significant cost increases for SAS that would threaten the company’s long-term competitiveness and consequently, the jobs of all SAS’ employees,” said Rickard Gustafson, the CEO of SAS.
“SAS has clearly stated that we are prepared to continue negotiating and find a solution. The unions have not yet indicated that they are ready to release their ultimate demands and return to the negotiating table, which means that we remain in a deadlock.”
ORIGINAL STORY FROM SUNDAY
The SAS pilot strike, which kicked off on Friday morning and has already has affected 170,000 passengers, is set to continue into next week.
The airline has announced that it will cancel flights on Monday and Tuesday as well, prospectively affecting another 110,000 passengers.
“SAS is striving to reach a solution as quickly as possible to prevent additional inconveniences for traveler. Flights operated by SAS’ partners will not be affected by the strike,” SAS wrote in a press release.
“We’re doing everything we can to help our passengers. There is a dedicated page for all information concerning traffic disruptions, passenger rights, booking, rebooking and refunds.”
SAS rejects compensation
SAS ruffled feathers over the weekend when it claimed that passengers affected by the grounded planes would not be entitled to compensation.
The airline contends that the strike is considered an extraordinary situation that is outside the realm of it’s control, a postulation that has been challenged by several consumer advocacy agencies.
They argue that an EU verdict from 2018 stipulated that part of running a business was that there was a possibility of conflicts arising between employers and employees.