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SAS and pilots will resume negotiations on Monday after 14 days of strike

SAS planes are parked at Oslo Gardermoen airport, as Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) pilots go on strike, Norway July 4, 2022. Beate Oma Dahle/NTB via REUTERS

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STOCKHOLM, July 17 (Reuters) – Struggling Scandinavian airline SAS (SAS.ST) and striking pilot unions will resume negotiations on Monday, public broadcaster NRK said, after failing to agree new collective agreements over the weekend -end.

Most of the SAS pilots in Sweden, Denmark and Norway walked out on July 4 after talks over terms on the carrier’s bailout failed. The parties returned to the negotiating table in the Swedish capital last Wednesday. Read more

“We are now coming home after 37 hours to sleep,” Henrik Thyregod, head of the Danish pilots’ union, said as he left the Stockholm site where negotiations were being held, NRK reported.

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Norwegian pilots’ union representative Roger Klokset said earlier on Sunday that the parties may have moved closer to an overnight agreement.

“Maybe. But I don’t know if there will be a deal yet,” he said.

SAS, whose main owners are Sweden and Denmark, had struggled to compete with low-cost competition for years before the pandemic hit the industry. He needs to attract new investors and secure bridge financing, saying he needs to cut costs first to achieve those goals.

Pilots employed at the 75-year-old carrier’s SAS Scandinavia subsidiary said last week they would accept limited pay cuts and less favorable terms, but SAS said the concessions offered were not sufficient to lead to a a rescue plan announced in February. Read more

The unions are also demanding that pilots made redundant during the pandemic be rehired at SAS Scandinavia rather than having to compete with external candidates for jobs on less attractive terms at the recently established SAS Link and Ireland-based SAS Connect.

On Saturday, a mediator said the parties had made progress, but significant issues had yet to be resolved. Read more

The airline said Thursday the strike had caused 2,550 flight cancellations, affecting 270,000 passengers and costing it between $94 million and $123 million. The Swedish government said it would no longer provide the money.

For Sunday, 164 SAS flights, or 62% of those scheduled, have been canceled, according to flight tracking platform FlightAware. SAS Link and SAS Connect pilots are not on strike.

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Reporting by Helena Soderpalm, Anna Ringstrom and Johan Ahlander, Editing by David Goodman and Frank Jack Daniel

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