SAS and pilot unions agree to resume talks on Wednesday

Pilot unions in Denmark, Sweden and Norway are to restart negotiations with SAS on Wednesday, after the Scandinavian airline offered to make concessions.

SAS and pilot unions agree to resume talks on Wednesday
Scandinavian airline SAS aircraft of the type Airbus A321 and A320 Neo are parked at Kastrup airport on July 4, 202 after the 900 pilots at SAS went on strike. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT/AFP

“We can confirm that negotiations will be restarted on Wednesday morning in Stockholm, ” the Swedish Air Line Pilots Association (SPF), told Sweden’s TT newswire, with both the Danish and Norwegian unions making similar statements. 

SAS announced in a press release on on Monday night that it now wanted to return to the negotiating table, and was willing to make concessions. 

“SAS understands that continuing the mediation requires concessions from both sides, and SAS is willing to take its responsibility in the process,” it said. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest in the SAS pilot strike?

The decision to resume talks came a week after nearly 1,000 SAS pilots went on strike, leading to the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights, and tens of thousands of passengers either unable to take their holidays, or stranded in their holiday destinations.  

The company said it hoped to strike a new collective bargaining agreement, which would allow flights to return to normal. 

Both the Danish airline analyst Hans Jørgen Elnæs and Jacob Pedersen, an analyst at Sydbank, told TT that the conflict could be solved quickly once talks resumed. 

“I think we’re talking about a matter of days,” Elnæs said, with Pedersen also predicting that it would be “days, not weeks before the the parties can complete the negotiations”. 

“It will then of course take a few more days before air traffic can get back to normal again,” Pedersen added. 

Henrik Thyregod, chair of the Danish pilot union, said that the two sides had been close to agreement the weekend before the strike broke out.

“We actually had an agreement last Saturday, where we had reached the goals we needed to reach a deal,” he told Denmark’s Ritzau newswire. “So we’ll show up and see what they say.” 

Thyregod said he did not intend to bring anything new to the negotiating table.

“I have had member meetings in the meantime. I think it’s unrealistic to imagine that anyone would be willing to offer much more than we did. There was a demand for [cost] savings of 800 million Swedish kroner, and I think we found at least the bulk of that money.” 

The pilots are demanding that the 560 SAS pilots who were laid off during the pandemic be rehired on the same terms that they had before they lost their jobs. This would mean they would be hired directly by SAS, rather than by one of its subsidiaries SAS Link and SAS Connect, which have a different collective bargaining agreement, and act a little like temping agencies for pilots. 

The strike has been costing the airline around 100m Swedish kronor a day. 

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Scandinavian airline SAS plans to launch electric planes in 2028 

Despite a number of economic challenges, airline SAS has announced an agreement with a Swedish company that will enable it to purchase electric aircraft and add them to its fleet. 

Scandinavian airline SAS plans to launch electric planes in 2028 

SAS has signed an agreement with Swedish company Heart Aerospace that could see it operating electric planes from 2028, the airline said in a press statement.

The model of plane that SAS would purchase from Heart Aerospace seats 30 passengers and has a range of 200 kilometers, SAS wrote.

“Along with the entire industry, we are responsible for making air travel more sustainable,” CEO of SAS Anko van der Werff said in the statement.

“SAS is dedicated to transforming air travel so future generations can continue to connect the world and enjoy the benefits of travel – but with a more sustainable footprint,” he said.

The aircraft will be installed with a hybrid system enabling them to double their range, SAS wrote.

“This has the potential to be a significant step on SAS’ sustainability journey, enabling zero-emission flights on routes within Scandinavia,” the press release stated. 

SAS has previously been involved in the development of another electric aircraft, the ES-30, which it partnered with Heart Aerospace on in 2019.

“The electric airplane will be a good supplement to our existing fleet, serving shorter routes in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in a more sustainable way,” van der Werff said.

READ MORE: SAS cancels 1,700 flights in September and October