Airline SAS's Survival Talks With Unions Extended Into Monday


Troubled Scandinavian airline SAS and its labor unions on Monday pushed on with talks aimed at ensuring the group's survival and avoiding bankruptcy after a midnight deadline for a deal passed, The Chicago Tribune reported on a Reuters story. The Scandinavian airline, hit by competition from lower-price rivals, last week announced plans to cut some salaries by up to 17 percent, reduce overall headcount to about 9,000 from 15,000 and reduce costs. The airline, half-owned by the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, had said a deal with unions on wage cuts, changes to work hours and pensions must be reached by Sunday. But talks, which began on Thursday, carried on at the main airport in Danish capital Copenhagen after the midnight deadline passed. "What we can say is that we are still in intense negotiations," said SAS spokeswoman Elisabeth Manzi, who is based in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. At Copenhagen's airport, negotiators could be seen shuttling in and out of company headquarters for food and drink while the lights blazed in several rooms on the three floors of the building. Analysts have questioned whether the measures will anyway secure the independence of the airline in the long term as its structure was designed more to secure jobs and Nordic solidarity than generate profits. It has long found it difficult to compete with discount carriers like Ryanair and regional rival Norwegian Air Shuttle. Read more.