Despite resuming mediated talks with striking
pilots, Scandinavian airlines SAS has cancelled 280 flights on
Thursday - a move that will affect about 20,000 passengers.
The cancellations affect flights departing prior to 2 pm (1200 GMT)
on Thursday, SAS said.
Shortly before SAS announced the latest wave of cancellations, Norway's national mediator met SAS pilot unions representing almost 1,500 pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden and employer organizations.
SAS hopes that, with the help of a national mediator, a solution to the dispute will be found as soon as possible, SAS Norway spokesman Knut Morten Johansen told Norwegian broadcaster TV 2. The labour action, ongoing since Friday, has resulted in more than 3,300 cancellations and affected about 327,000 passengers.
"I always believe there is a solution, but it is challenging," Mats Wilhelm Ruland, Norway's national mediator, said shortly before the talks opened Wednesday, news agency NTB reported. Representatives from the SAS pilot unions representing almost 1,500 pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden were present in Oslo, along with employer organizations.
SAS pilots want compensation for wage cuts and other concessions they made in 2012 when the company was in financial dire straits. More predictable work schedules were another demand from the unions.
Flights in the Nordic region and those to European and long-haul destinations were disrupted. SAS advised passengers to check the SAS website for details of cancellations, and added that passengers could rebook or cancel their tickets free of charge until May 5. About 30 per cent of flights operated by SAS subcontractors were not affected; the use of subcontractors has also concerned unions. SAS management and analysts have said SAS was not in a position to meet the wage demands, citing the tough economic environment for the airline industry.
SAS Norway on Tuesday said it would temporarily lay off approximately 1,000 employees - including 930 cabin crew members - due to the strike.
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