SAS ‘not a target’ for Lufthansa

Lufthansa is not in talks with Sweden's newly elected government over the state's minority stake in SAS AB, and would in general only be interested buying controlling stakes in rivals, said the German airline's CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

Mayrhuber was quoted as saying by Norwegian daily Finansvisen that the German carrier is keen to expand into new markets.

Asked by the newspaper if Lufthansa would be interested in buying the Swedish stake in SAS, he replied: “No, we are not interested in gathering shares in other airlines. Lufthansa will conquer new markets either on its own or by buying controlling stakes in other airlines.”

The newspaper added that Lufthansa would be interested in buying control of SAS, though it did not directly substantiate that comment.

The new centre-right Swedish government has pledged to substantially reduce the government’s stakes in many of the region’s leading companies.

Together, Sweden, Norway and Denmark control 50 pct of SAS, and while Denmark is thought by analysts to be considering the possibility of selling its stake, Norwegian authorities have recently dismissed the likelihood of a similar move.


‘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.