Striking SAS pilots drop exception for stranded charter tourists
The pilots’ union at Scandinavian airline SAS have said they would no longer allow exceptions under their ongoing strike to enable stranded charter flight passengers to get home, after a week-long walkout deepened Europe’s travel woes.
The union representing pilots at the airline, SAS Pilot Group (SPG), agreed to the exceptions on July 8, and flights to bring home stranded passengers have flown over the weekend.
“Unfortunately SAS has once again shown itself to be an untrustworthy party, that doesn’t follow the agreement,” SPG president Martin Lindgren said in a statement.
According to the union, the extra flights were intended only for “destinations where there are few or no alternatives for a return trip”.
But Lindgren said that, “to their great surprise”, there had been a lot of flights to popular and well-trafficked holiday destinations such as Rhodes, Crete, and Split, “from where there are already alternate travel possibilities”.
Because of this SPG had decided to no longer allow the exceptions after July 10 flights.
SAS said that the strike “is estimated to lead to the cancellation of approximately 50 percent of all scheduled SAS flights”, impacting around 30,000 passengers a day.
Suffering, like the rest of the sector, from the impact of COVID-19, SAS cut 5,000 jobs, or 40 percent of its workforce, in 2020.
The strike at SAS comes as the summer is shaping up to be difficult for European airlines and airports, faced with staff shortages affecting traffic.
After widespread job losses linked to COVID-19, airlines and airports are struggling to recruit new staff in many countries