‘SAS looking for a buyer’: CEO

SAS Scandinavian Airlines would be better off sold or merged with another airline, the company's CEO, Mats Jansson, said on Tuesday.

'SAS looking for a buyer': CEO

“In my opinion, after we have gotten through this very difficult crisis, SAS should enter into a structural deal,” he told the Dagens Nyheter daily on Tuesday.

Jansson has in the past been sceptical of selling the airline, but in Tuesday’s interview he said he had “become older and wiser.”

“Making it on our own is not a goal in itself … I have reached the insight that (a sale) is definitely the best solution for all parties,” he said.

SAS is majority owned by the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Swedish government confirmed in February that it planned to seek parliamentary approval to sell its 21.4 percent stake.

Germany’s leading airline Lufthansa has long been mentioned as a possible rescuer for SAS, but Jansson said it was too early to speculate on who might buy the Scandinavian company.

“First we need a capital injection from our shareholders and then we need to get our cashflow going so we can make SAS interesting again,” he said, adding that “if we don’t do our homework there will be no interest on the market for us.”

Last month, SAS reported a worse-than-expected fourth quarter net loss of 1.3 billion kronor (£176 million) and said it would cut 650 jobs.

It also went cap in hand to its shareholders, begging for a cash injection of around €500 million ($700 million), less than a year after requesting that its owners stump up more than €600 million.

“2010 will be a very difficult year, but starting in 2011 we will show positive figures on our balance sheet,” Jansson said.

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‘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.