SAS cancels many flights after declaring bankruptcy and pilot strike

A day after its pilots went on strike, SAS, the Scandinavian airline, said on Tuesday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, the latest hit in a turbulent summer for European airlines.

SAS described the filing, made in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, as the “next step” in a reorganization that would address the money-losing airline’s financial difficulties, including cost reductions more than $700 million. He said he was in talks with potential lenders who could provide $700 million in financing to support operations through the Chapter 11 process. He expected to get out of the process in nine to 12 months.

The company said many international airlines have turned to US courts for bankruptcy proceedings because Chapter 11 law offers advantages to companies undergoing restructuring with divisions in different parts of the world.

SAS, which is the national airline of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, said it would continue to fly, though on Monday it called the pilots’ strike “devastating” and warned it could lead to the cancellation of half its flights, affecting some 30,000 passengers. daily.

On Monday, SAS canceled 51 percent of its flights, according to FlightAware. By noon Tuesday, nearly 80 percent of its flights had been cancelled. SAS share price fell about 15 percent on Tuesday, extending a 5 percent drop the day before.

“The ongoing strike has made an already challenging situation even more difficult,” Anko van der Werff, the airline’s chief executive officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

SAS’s troubles come in a summer plagued by problems for the air travel industry, caused by staff shortages and strikes by employees unhappy with long hours and low wages who have failed to keep up with inflation. dizzying Airports across Europe have been the scene of long lines of disgruntled passengers, eager to travel after years of pandemic lockdowns.

Unable to find enough baggage handlers, check-in staff, security guards or aircraft crew, airlines and airports scrambled to cancel flights.

  • Last Friday and Saturday, a workers’ strike at the main Paris airport caused the cancellation of one in five flights. Another strike is planned for this weekend.

  • A new round of cancellations at British Airways has cut its schedule through October by 11 percent, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

  • Brussels Airlines, a unit of Germany’s Lufthansa, said on Monday it would cancel about 6 percent of scheduled flights in July and August, to avoid strikes and reduce workload. “The entire aviation sector is facing a turbulent summer,” the airline said.

  • A top executive at easyJet, a British-based low-cost airline, resigned on Monday after a series of flight cancellations. The airline said Peter Bellew, the company’s chief operating officer, had resigned and would “seek other business opportunities.” Crews based in Spain have called several days of strike action this month at easyJet and low-cost rival Ryanair.

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