Scandinavian Airlines pilots on strike, thousands of passengers stranded

Airplanes of the Scandinavian Airlines’ SAS company park on ground at the Gardamoen Airport during a strike of pilots to contest wages and working hours on April 26, 2019 in Oslo, Norway. Pilots at SAS walked off the job in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, stranding 70,000 travellers as more than 300 flights were cancelled, the airline said. Domestic, European and long-haul flights were all affected by the strike, it said, predicting that a total of 170,000 passengers would be affected through April 28, 2019. (Ole Berg-Rusten/AFP/Getty Images)
Airline passengers found themselves stranded at airports around Scandinavia on Friday, after the pilots for SAS Airlines went on strike at midnight.

More than 670 flights were cancelled during the day, according to the company. And some 170,000 passengers will be affected over the weekend.

On Thursday, SAS began offering to re-book passengers onto other flights, run by other airlines. In a statement, the airline said updates will be sent to passengers via email and text messages, and that travelers should check the status of their flight online before heading to the airport.

The disagreement is over pay as well as matters of principle. The union feels that they are owed compensation for helping to save SAS back in 2012, when the company was on the brink of bankruptcy and pilots accepted a pay cut. Now, they say, they are among the lowest paid in Europe.

But SAS tells Swedish Radio that the union’s demands are unreasonably high and would threaten the company’s long-term competitiveness.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Report saying airline merger would jack up prices in Arctic Canada ‘ignorant’ of northern realities, say Inuit orgs, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s air traffic controllers get new contract to end long-standing dispute, Yle News

Iceland: Canadian couple among stranded passengers after Icelandic budget airline WOW Air folds, CBC News

Norway: Longer runway for bigger planes in Kirkenes, northern Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian regional airline cancels only direct Murmansk-Oslo link, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish regional airline Nextjet files for bankruptcy, cancels all flights, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s largest airport expects more passengers this summer, Alaska Public Media

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