SAS Pilot Strike Grounds Flights, Exacerbating Airline's Troubles

Hundreds of SAS flights were canceled on Thursday as the airline wrestled with a strike by pilots at its main SAS Scandinavia arm, overshadowing a traffic surge during June, Reuters reported. Talks between the airline and pilots over a new collective bargaining agreement collapsed on Monday, prompting a strike which adds to travel chaos in Europe and deepens the financial crisis at SAS, which estimated it would ground half its flights. The troubled airline, whose biggest owners are the Swedish and the Danish states, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States on Tuesday. The first hearing was due to begin at 1400 GMT in New York with SAS expecting the process to take between nine and 12 months. Tuesday's traffic figures highlighted what SAS was now missing in the peak summer period, with the airline flying 1.9 passengers in June, a 220% increase on the year. Data from flight tracker FlightAware showed 202 flights, 66% of the airline's daily total, were cancelled on Thursday. The Swedish pilots union said that the pilot associations had proposed making an exception for several weeks to SAS in order to repatriate stranded charter passengers. Charter companies have warned thousands of people could be stranded unless a solution for their return flights, which were due to be operated by SAS, could be reached. Read more.