By Michael Bartiromo
Published April 26, 2019
A Scandinavian airline is apologizing to passengers after a pilot strike forced the carrier to cancel more than 670 flights on Friday.
Scandinavian Airlines, also known as SAS, announced that Swedish, Norwegian and Danish pilots’ unions have decided to strike as of Friday, though the carrier claims it is working “to reach a solution as quickly as possible.”
A total of 673 flights were canceled Friday, affecting or effectively stranding approximately 72,000 passengers, the BBC reports.
The cancellations account for roughly 70 percent of SAS’ flights, as those operated by the carrier’s partners, as well as SAS Ireland, are still scheduled to fly, according to Bloomberg.
The pilots’ strike comes amid ongoing negotiations over schedules and wages, which began in March. The SAS Pilot Group is reportedly seeking a 13-percent increase in salaries, though the airline has said meeting such demands would have “negative consequences” for the carrier.
In a press release, SAS Pilot Group, which represents 95 percent of the carrier’s Scandinavia-based pilots, said deteriorating working conditions and unfair scheduling were major points of contention. The group also confirmed that 1409 of its pilots were striking, in total.
“Many of the SAS pilots today do not have control over where, when and how long they should work. In the worst case, one can risk working seven weekends in a row,” the union said in the release, per a translation.
A representative for SAS was not immediately able to comment on the carrier’s plans for stranded customers.
In a video message to passengers, SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson said the airline will “do everything we can to try to find a solution for you as a customer,” and “do everything in our power to end the conflict.”
Gustafson also said he deeply regrets any issues the strikes have caused.
The carrier is directing travelers to its website for more information on the strike, and urging they check the status of their flights before leaving for the airport. SAS is also offering refunds for affected passengers, and voluntary rebookings for future travelers concerned about the ongoing strike.