SAS to collect Thailand tourists

Scandinavian airline SAS announced on Saturday plans to send an aircraft to collect stranded Swedish passengers in Thailand.

SAS to collect Thailand tourists
Photo: Johan Nilsson/Scanpix

The Airbus A340-400 has space for 245 passengers and will depart from Stockholm Arlanda airport at 8.20pm on Saturday. It is scheduled to land at the U-Tapao military airport outside of Bangkok, according to a company press release.

“We are pleased to be able to start operating flights to and from Thailand in order to get our customers home,” said Lars Sandahl Sörensen, CEO, Scandinavian Airlines International.

The SAS CEO will himself join the flight as he is one of those stranded in Thailand.

“We regret the inconvenience this has caused our passengers, and we have done everything possible to take the best care of those affected here in Bangkok.”

SAS has been obliged to begin using U-Tapao as the main commercial Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport remains closed and under siege from protesters demanding an end to what they consider a puppet parliamentary regime in the troubled far-eastern country.

SAS has previously expressed scepticism towards using the airport.

“We wanted to ensure that it could meet the standards we require. They have now managed to get everything in place,” said Anders Lindström at SAS to news agency TT.

SAS plans to continue to use the U-Tapao airport, until such time as the situation in Bangkok stabilizes. The airline has kept one aircraft at Suvarnabhumi Airport which aims to operate to Copenhagen as soon as the airport re-opens.


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.