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Travel industry news

28 May 2019

BY James Chapple


SAS pilots' strike 'could keep airline in the red this year'

A costly pilots’ strike means SAS may stay in the red this year, the Scandinavian carrier has predicted.

Aircraft SAS Boeing 737 tailfin

SAS pilots' strike 'could keep airline in the red this year'

Industrial action during the airline’s first quarter pushed up losses and led the Stockholm-based airline to revise its full-year prediction.


The deficit in February, March and April soared year-on-year from £40 million to £100.4 million following industrial action which saw 2,700 flights cancelled, affecting an estimated 270,000 passengers.


This was despite turnover during the period increasing year on year from £818.4 million to £840.8 million.


SAS said: “In the light of the strike and the macro development, the outlook is revised as it will be challenging to reach a positive result before tax and items affecting comparability in fiscal year 2019."


In a statement, chief executive Rickard Gustafson added: “The pilot strike at the end of the second quarter added to the challenges already faced by SAS from a competitive market – increasing jet fuel price and a weakening Swedish krona.


"In addition, we see decreased demand for domestic travel especially in Sweden.”


SAS has struck a three-year agreement with pilot unions in Denmark, Norway and Sweden that the carrier says includes productivity improvements that will offset increased pay rates.

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