Mediation is underway between the troubled Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and the union for pilots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Meanwhile, SAS competitors are taking off more than ever, some of which are new.
Long-time SAS rival Norwegian Air Shut, who faced even more serious problems than SAS just two years ago, escaped from bankruptcy restructuring and overcame the bonuses paid to top executives in government rebuke. Dropped the nasty Boeing 787 Dreamliner long-haul and returned to its roots as a domestic airline re-expanding routes in Europe.
The Norwegians, who suffered a pilot strike in 2015, seemed to have rubbed salt on the wounds of SAS when they announced last week that they had agreed to a new labor agreement with pilots between 2022 and 2023. The new Norwegian management highlights how the deal was launched in a “fellowship” and provides airlines with seasonal flexibility and predictability. This is exactly what SAS needs. Guro Poulsen, executive vice president of Norwegian, even said that pilots are one of a group of airline employees who “have had to adapt to a constantly changing new work environment” over the past few years. We were confident with each other during the negotiations. “
The leader of the Norwegian pilot union of the airline also claimed to be happy with the new labor agreement. “The main priority was to secure a job … and there is better predictability and potential for planning work days and vacations,” Alf said.
at the same time Scandinavian SAS pilots have threatened to strike from June 29, and mediation has begun in Sweden this week. Norwegian Air responded swiftly by stopping the sale of “flex” tickets to several destinations in Southern Europe. This allows passengers booked with SAS to arrange backup trips that can be canceled if SAS does not strike. “As a result, people will not show up and we will fly vacant,” Norwegian Eline Hyggen Skari told state broadcaster NRK. Norwegians instead sell tickets to splits in Spain, France and Croatia, for example. This ticket must be paid at one time and is non-refundable.
The threat of SAS pilot strikes has created great uncertainty for thousands of passengers holding long-awaited summer vacation tickets, allowing rivals to raise their ticket prices. For example, the new Norwegian airline Flyr offered low fares from Copenhagen to Oslo late June this week, but the fares for flights from July 1st were tripled or unavailable.
There is a crazy rush for transportation Starting June 30, summer vacation can be ruined if SAS pilots quit their jobs. SAS pilots support their request that about 550 SAS pilots dismissed during the Corona crisis regain their jobs under the same conditions as before. Meanwhile, SAS management has rebuilt the airline with two new subsidiaries (SASLink and SASConnect). There, a new pilot who was willing to work with less effort took over the job. Former SAS pilots are keen to get their jobs back and claim they need to accept a 30% drop in overall wages and working conditions.
SAS management argues that pilots need to accept new terms of employment in order for airlines with high debt to survive.One former SAS pilot who described himself in the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) Currently, as a “happy pilot” for the Norwegian short-haul airline Widerøe, his ex-colleagues are not greedy and untouched by reality, but their work to ensure the pilot’s more “sustainable” conditions. Claims to be at risk.
Cancellation is imminent
DN This week, it was reported that mediation was conducted through separate processes in each of the three Scandinavian countries. The front was drawn, the pilot claimed that “there was no other way”, and SAS officials showed the pilot “a surprisingly inadequate understanding of the critical situation in which SAS is located.” I answered that there is.
In Norway, mediation will not begin until just a few days before the June 29 settlement deadline. Analysts argue that strikes will cost SEK 90 million per day, making it much more difficult for airlines to secure the new capital they need from investors. As commentator Anita Hoemsnes wrote, “Who wants to invest in SAS when the pilot chooses the worst time of strike?”
SAS has also already warned that even before the strike threat, it may be necessary to cancel more than 4,000 flights this summer and early fall due to a shortage of crew. Airlines and airports across Europe are suffering from the same staffing issues, which has caused a lot of confusion last week.
Among those ready to offer alternative airline services For SAS customers FlyerWas founded by the heirs of Braathens SAFE, a former major competitor of SAS. Erik Braathen has a long career in the aviation industry and managed to take off in the midst of the corona crisis last summer. By the end of the year, it had domestic services to three destinations, both domestically and internationally, and now serves all over Europe, from Sardinia to Scotland.
Flyer passenger numbers increased 22% in May, DN It is said that it will occupy 4 of the 5 seats this month. Flyr sold 10,000 tickets a day last week, and former Norwegian CEO Tonje W Frislid is optimistic and expects a load factor of over 80%. The Flyer fleet will grow to 12 by the end of this year.
Despite all the possibilities at first glance, growth is coming.Frith lid said DN Earlier this year, there was no “nothing called Omicron” last fall, nor was there a war in Europe. “We were prepared for a new wave of (Corona) infections that could pull the market down again or slow it up.” Nevertheless, emerging airlines have capitalized at NOK 1.1 billion. Newly procured, 149,100 passengers traveled with the flyer in May.
Another new Norwegian airline has finally begun flying This week it was built on the wreckage of a Norwegian long-range aircraft. Based in Arendal’s southern coastal city, Norse Atlantic Airways is ready to take off from Oslo to JFK Airport in New York on Tuesday night, with plans to expand its route from summer to autumn. Its management sees opportunities in all the problems of an old established career.
With the dropout from the Corona crisis, where airlines around the world have landed, new players like Norse Atlantic Airways have entered the market. Taking over the lease of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Norwegian Air Shut, it now boasts 15 jets, including London. , Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Berlin, Paris.
The first flight from Oslo to New York was scheduled to take off on Tuesday night, June 14, and arrive at JFK on the same night due to time zone benefits. Flights to Florida destinations are scheduled for late this month to early July, and flights to Oslo and Los Angeles, London Gatwick Airport, and New York are scheduled to begin in August. After that, departures from Berlin and Paris are scheduled.
New airlines are pushing for lower fares, but they change depending on destination and seat availability and can always rise. Like Norwegians, new airlines do not have backup aircraft, so passengers can get stuck if there is a problem with the Dreamliner, which is common with Norwegians.
Many travelers are willing to try out new start-ups like Flyr and Norse Atlantic. CEO and founder Bjorn Tore Larsen said DN In late May, more than half of people booking on Norse Atlantic Airways come from the United States. Larsen and his colleagues said the war in Ukraine was nervous about whether Americans would be less motivated to travel. “Now it’s unaffected and we’re seeing very strong demand,” Larsen said, adding that ticket sales “exceeded all expectations.”
Larsen also points out the favorable rental agreements secured when Norwegians face financial difficulties. He also claims that it is available to experienced and motivated airline staff. However, his airline has already subleased some aircraft and did not begin sales plans for routes and tickets until the US Department of Transportation granted Norse Atlantic Airways landing rights in January. “As a new company, we are flexible, allowing us to enter the market on demand and adjust our courses as needed,” Larsen told the newspaper. Aftenposten last week.
Analysts tend to agree. “Demand (for travel) is on the rise (after Corona) and there are few offers to meet it,” said Jorge Gila, a British professor who studied investment during the economic crisis. Aftenposten.. “This is an era of opportunity.”
Others agree that new players can survive due to the large number of aircraft available and the rapid increase in passenger numbers. New start-ups have also experienced deregulation trauma, faced strong trade unions, and have more flexibility than previous domestic airlines struggling to adapt to market forces.
However, the high prices of oil and jet fuel affect both new and existing carriers, and other problems can still occur. For example, Flyer announced last week that a delay in delivery of a new aircraft from Boeing affected approximately 2,000 passengers. It was supposed to arrive on June 29th, but will not arrive until July 26th. Boeing blamed the delay in its own delivery problem during the pandemic.