SAS Avoids Bankruptcy After Unions Approve New Plan
SAS, Scandinavia’s biggest airline, can proceed with austerity measures and avoid bankruptcy after all eight of its unions agreed to a new rescue plan that will keep it afloat.
The last union, which represents Danish cabin crew, approved the measures on Monday. An agreement with the union that represents Swedish cabin crew will freeze salaries through 2014, reduce expenses, and raise the retirement age to 65.
The airline had already put contingency plans into place had the talks collapsed, telling crew members to bring cash with them to meet expenses in the event of a bankruptcy filing and refueling planes outside Scandinavia so they could return to base.
SAS plans to implement 3 billion kronor ($440 million) in cost reductions by eliminating clerical positions and selling assets including a ground-handling unit and its Wideroe regional airline in the Nordics. The airline is partially owned by the governments of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and employs roughly 15,000 people. It has not turned a profit since 2006.