After a fifteen-day pilot strike that caught out thousands of passengers, SAS and the pilot unions have reached an agreement on new collective bargaining agreements. This means that the pilot strike, which started on July 4 by some 900 pilots in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, has ended. SAS strike ends as pilots agree to a deal.
After days of mediation, the two parties have concluded various 5.5-year agreements. They include cost savings in line with the set targets in the SAS FORWARD plan relating to the pilots’ terms and conditions. The agreements will lead to increased productivity for the SAS Scandinavia pilots and increased flexibility in seasonal production. “The terms and conditions of the agreements also yield a lowered unit cost for the SAS Scandinavia pilot”, the airline says in a media statement.
The airline and unions have also agreed that the pilots withdraw a number of pending litigation cases previously. “In accordance with a restructuring support agreement to be entered into between the parties in the chapter 11 process, SAS has granted the unions a general unsecured pre-petition claim for the pilots in the amount of SEK 1.0 bn in SAS voluntary financial restructuring process. Distributions under that unsecured claim will be capped at SEK 100 million and made over 5.5 years, corresponding to the term of the agreements.” SAS says it plans to rehire and subsequent full-time employment of 450 pilots in tandem with the ramp-up of flight operations until 2024.
CEO Anko van der Werff said: “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.”
SAS will now be able to proceed with its process to secure $700 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) funding to support the company’s ongoing operations. This is expected to be finalized within the next few weeks – throughout its voluntary financial restructuring process. After that, SAS will continue the restructuring under its FORWARD plan under the supervision of the New York Southern District bankruptcy court, where in filed for Chapter 11 protection on July 5.
The agreements between SAS and the SAS Scandinavia pilots’ unions are subject to approval by the members of all four unions and the US federal court. The company expects to receive the necessary approvals within the next few weeks.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.