Oslo, Norway (By Ahmed Tanveer): The Scandinavian biggest airline SAS cancelled around 700 flights in a three month period due to staff shortages in the peak summer season. SAS announced late on Thursday night that it had reached a deal with the pilots’ union to end the strike that has seen more than 4,000 flights cancelled over the past seven days, stranding over 380,000 passengers. Although SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson said at a press conference that “we can now put this conflict behind us”, a number of Friday flights were still cancelled at the airport’s primary Scandinavian airports.
In Stockholm, early Friday morning flights to Oslo and Split, Croatia were the only EuropeanSAS departures to be called off but all of the airline’s scheduled flights to the United States. This included scrapped departures to Los Angeles, Chicago and Newyork. The situation was similar in Copenhagen, where SAS flights within Europe were running as normal with the exception of the early scheduled departure to Oslo. SAS departures to the US cities of Boston, Chicago, Newark Washington DC and San Francisco were cancelled, as were long-haul flights to Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo.
Things were worse for Norwegian passengers, as Oslo‘s Gardermoen airport had a total of 19 SAS flights cancelled on Friday. This included early scheduled flights to Copenhagen and Stockholm as well as domestic departures to Trondheim, Bergen, Kristiansand, Bodø and Tromsø. A scheduled flight to Newark was also called off. With the exception of early flights to Amsterdam and Nice and one afternoon flight to Paris, SAS’s European flights from Oslo were set to leave as planned.
The strike that ended late on Thursday involved over 1,400 pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. They walked off the job last Friday after the main pilots’ union failed to reach a collective bargaining agreement with the company. One of the major sticking points was the issue of scheduling, with pilots saying that unpredictable working hours sometimes left them working seven weekends in a row. SAS said that pilots had also requested a 13 percent salary raise, significantly more than the 2.3 percent offered by the airline. The final agreement reportedly guaranteed them a 3.5 percent increase for 2019, along with improved job security and more predictable work schedules.
According to Norway’s ABC Nyheter, the cancelled flights are linked to subcontractor City Jet as well as SAS Irish subsidiary SAS Ireland (SAIL). Crew shortages at both is reported to have resulted in the parent company taking over their flights, and cabin crew members regularly being told to work in their free time.The Norwegian site reports that 26 SAS Ireland pilots signed a letter to the airline’s management complaining about poor working conditions, claiming Disruption could be due to a combination of factors like technical errors, weather, or congestion in airspace, he explained, and insisted the number of cancellations should be viewed in context of the around 900 flights per day SAS runs during the peak season.The 700 cancelled flights in the last three months occurred at the same time as we had a total of over 78,000 departures. (Please send your news, article, pictorial on our email address <email@example.com & WhatsApp +923132434567)