SAS Airlines, the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and its pilots union have reportedly reached a deal to end a strike that has caused hundreds of cancellations over the past few weeks.
SAS has come to a deal with all four pilot unions for the carrier, an agreement that allows some pilots who were let go during the pandemic to come back to work.
“I am pleased to report that we now have come to an agreement with all four pilot unions for SAS Scandinavia and the strike has ended. Finally, we can resume normal operations and fly our customers on their much longed-for summer holidays. I deeply regret that so many of our passengers have been impacted by this strike,” Anko van der Werff, SAS president & CEO, said on Tuesday.
The strike had added major stress to ongoing travel chaos across Europe this summer, forcing the cancellation of 3,700 flights and affecting the travel plans of 380,000 passengers. SAS was typically canceling close to 250 flights a day and had left some passengers stranded without options to get home.
The strike was costing SAS $10 million to $13 million per day and the airline officially filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. earlier in the month in a move to cut its debt on the second day of the pilots strike. In total, according to SAS, the financial impact of the strike is expected to exceed $145 million.
SAS had said that the strike had put the success of its bankruptcy filing, a financial restructuring plan that would allow it “to implement key elements of our SAS FORWARD transformation plan,” in jeopardy. SAS FORWARD, which the carrier unveiled earlier this year, is a plan to fully transform SAS including its network, fleet, and more.
van der Werff added on Tuesday that the carrier will move ahead with the SAS FORWARD plan now.
“We now get on with the important work of progressing our transformation plan SAS FORWARD and building a strong and competitive SAS for generations to come, with the support of our pilots’ unions and all other stakeholders. The strike has been a tough situation for our customers, for our employees, and for our company as a whole. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of my SAS colleagues who have worked tirelessly these past weeks to help our customers,” he said.