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How a pilot strike at Norwegian could disrupt travel from Norway

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
How a pilot strike at Norwegian could disrupt travel from Norway
Pilots at Norwegian could strike from Saturday. Pictured is a Norwegian Air Shuttle flight. Josep Lago / AFP

A summer pilot strike could disrupt travel to and from Norway, with staff from Norwegian Air Shuttle yet to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement ahead of the June 1st deadline.


A mediation deadline of June 1st has been set for the pilots from Norwegian Air Shuttle, The Norwegian Pilot Union, and Norwegian Air Shuttle to agree on a wage and working conditions package.

If the deadline passes without an agreement, pilots from the airline will strike from Saturday.

The pilots are demanding a raise and a better work life balance. 

Pilots working for the airline out of Denmark and Spain have already agreed on deals, so initially, domestic traffic would be hit hardest first, according to air travel analyst Hans Jørgen Elnæs.

However, if the strike were to escalate and more pilots were to walk out, it would become more disruptive and affect flights out of the country.

"If all the pilots eventually end up with yellow vests, then we are talking about 60-70 percent of Norwegian's production, and then it is not just Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim and so on. There will be a lot (of disruption)," Hans Jørgen Elnæs told business newspaper E24.

"The probability of a strike is probably relatively high, from my point of view," he added.

Initially, just 17 pilots will strike during the first wave. However, up to 690 pilots could strike if the conflict escalates.

"In terms of experience, a strike does not start with violent withdrawals. You start a little conservatively and then gradually turn the screw a little more if there is no movement," Elnæss said.

The cost of a prolonged strike for the airline could be twofold, both in terms of lost income from cancelled flights and the company's reputation—especially as the airline has managed to turn big losses back into profits.


Norway's Consumer Council has told the public that they shouldn't rush into cancelling their tickets and continue with their travel plans as expected.

"First of all, it is important that you plan as if everything goes as planned because it is not certain that the pilots who fly your particular plane will go on strike. The strike is usually escalated as conflicts continue," Thomas Iversen, senior legal advisor at the Consumer Council, said.

The reason you shouldn't cancel your ticket is that airlines typically must arrange a new ticket for affected passengers. If a passenger was to cancel their flight, they would then lose this right.

READ MORE: What are your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled in Norway?



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