Another day, another struggling flag-carrier announces a radical overhaul of its operations as it battles for its existence.
Air France, Qantas, and Iberia were today joined by SAS Group, which revealed a “new comprehensive” plan which it hopes will pave the way for a new, strong and competitive airline.
The Scandinavian carrier said it would lower pension contributions and as it seeks to cut costs by three billion Swedish kronor annually.
As part of the plan, SAS will get SKr3.5 billion in credit lines from the governments of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, as well as major banks.
However, it must agree on savings cuts with labour unions.
SAS wants to renegotiate the workers’ employment terms and conditions as well as their pension schemes.
The plan needs to be fully implemented and new collective agreements must be signed in a very short space of time in order for SAS to have access to necessary funding.
“This truly is our ‘final call’ if there is to be a SAS in the future,” said Rickard Gustafson, president of SAS
“We have been given this final chance to make a fresh start and to carry on these fundamental changes.
“I know that we are asking a lot of our employees, but there is no other way.
“I hope that our loyal and dedicated employees are willing to fight for the survival of SAS and for our jobs.
“If we do this, we will be able to invest in new aircraft in the long term and to further develop our operations.
“This will ensure that SAS will continue to play an important role for millions of people in Scandinavia in the future.”
The SAS board will meet again on November 18th to decide if the conditions for the implementation of the plan exist.
Internal meetings will be held today and over the next few days to inform SAS employees of the plan and the requirements contained in the new agreements.