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SAS to sell off eastern retail business

SAS Trading AB, a subsidiary of the SAS Group which operates the travel retail chain Euroshop, is to sell off its subsidiaries in Poland, Latvia and Estonia to Sweden-based Inflight Service Europe AB.

The SAS Group’s east European activities comprising SAS Trading Polska, SAS Trading Latvia and Scandinavian Travel Retail Eesti had combined total sales of 176 million kronor last year.

The east European travel retail business is a growing market and the continued development of SAS Trading’s travel retail shops will be further strengthened by an owner that has travel retail as its core business.

Inflight Service Europe, based in Sweden, provides products, services and business solutions in the Nordic travel retail market. Already holding a leading position in the Nordic market with retail customers at airports, on charter airlines and on ferries, the acquisition of Euroshop is likely to strengthen their position. Last year the company recorded sales of 1.3 billion kronor.

Before the takeover can be concluded the agreement between the SAS Group and Inflight Service Europe is to be reviewed by the relevant authorities. It is expected that, if approval is granted, the transaction should be completed by the spring.

In other SAS news, February saw an increase in the number of passengers flying with SAS Group. Compared to Feburary last year the number of passengers increased 0.8% following the 8.1% increase in January.

However, the figure for Scandinavian Airlines was not as positive with a 5% decrease in passengers.

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers. 

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