SAS Locked in Talks over Pilots Strike It Says Threatens Its Survival

SAS said today that a pilot strike now in its 11th day threatened the airline's ability to access bridge financing without which it may be forced to radically downsize or could collapse, Reuters reported. SAS and unions were locked in more talks on Thursday to end a strike among most of its pilots at the peak of the holiday travel season, over conditions related to the Scandinavian carrier's rescue plan. "The strikes ... threaten the company's ability to ultimately successfully raise critically needed near-term and long-term capital to fund the company's successful reorganisation," SAS said in a statement. "In such an event, the company will need to consider selling valuable strategic assets under duress while also radically downsizing SAS's operations and fleet." Talks between SAS and pilot unions on Thursday were due to run until 2000 GMT at the latest, mediator Jan Sjolin said. "We really hope that we will reach an agreement today. These are constructive talks," he said. The parties resumed collective bargaining talks on Wednesday after negotiations broke down on July 4. SAS' chief negotiator Marianne Hernaes around midday told reporters outside the venue it was hard to tell whether a deal would be reached on Thursday. The carrier, whose main owners are the governments of Sweden and Denmark, cancelled 201 flights on Thursday, or 64% of those scheduled, according to FlightAware. Read more.