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Swedish pilots fail to reach deal with SAS

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Swedish pilots fail to reach deal with SAS
Negotiations between Swedish pilots' unions and SAS are ongoing. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
11:13 CEST+02:00
A deal between Swedish pilots and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is being automatically extended a week at a time after the agreement ended at midnight on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, their Danish counterparts penned a new deal with SAS at the eleventh hour.

"Together with the Danish Pilots' Association, we have taken a great step forward and signed an agreement that reflects today's competition in the market," said SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson in a press release.

"Negotiations have been long and at times intense, but they have always been constructive and carried out in a good tone. SAS wishes to keep the Scandinavian model, with deals on effective and competitive conditions. The demands are necessary and essential to maintain our Scandinavian work places," Niels Møller, chairman of Danish pilots' union DPF added.

SAS has previously said it wants to simplify the current, very detailed, agreement. The company also wants greater flexibility to appoint seasonal workers. Current staffing levels are adapted to the summer season, when the airline carries more passengers, which creates higher costs during the not as busy winter months.

The company said its ambition is to sign similar deals with its Swedish and Norwegian pilots, but had by midnight on Tuesday failed to come to an agreement.

The deal with Swedish pilots' unions will now continue to be extended on a weekly basis until June 1st at the latest, unless either party terminates it before then.

“This gives the parties a bit of breathing space to find a solution,” Tommy Larsson of pilots' union 'Svensk pilotförening' told news wire TT.

The union has so far not wanted to comment on its own position.

“I can't say anything else at present. Negotiations are ongoing and we will see where they head,” Larsson told TT.

Earlier this month, both SAS and Norwegian pilots went on strike in Scandinavia to protest their wages and conditions.

Norwegian -- Europe's third-largest budget airline -- struck a deal with pilots after an eleven day walkout affecting around 200,000 passengers.

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