A new airline is found in turmoil: the Scandinavian SAS. No bankruptcy for the moment, but the director of the group speaks of a “struggle” to survive.
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The word is strong and lets imagine the worst. In an interview with the Danish newspaper Finans, Anko Van der Werff has no illusions about the new market structure deeply affected by the pandemic. Arrived at the helm of the company last July, the fresh CEO explains that SAS is encountering several problems with the lasting decline in business travel and especially internal social agreements that are more costly than most of its competitors.
To quickly cope with the situation, the boss announced the convening of the main unions for three months of negotiations. At stake: a reduction in costs and greater flexibility of work. This requires, he said, the understanding and the will of all. SAS must become competitive again in order to survive and create jobs, because that is also the objective. But the pill is likely to be bitter internally. The airline has already cut 5,000 jobs (40% of its workforce) last year. The Danish and Swedish states, its two main shareholders, had granted additional credit close to 300 million euros in May. An extension cord seems really necessary today.
The daily Les Echos of Tuesday, October 26 reports a new appeal for help launched by French companies. Air France, Corsair, Air Caraïbes and French Bee unite their voices to ask the State for an extension of the aid already granted. Anne Rigail for Air France, Marc Rochet for Air Caraïbes and Pascal de Izaguirre for Corsair, are also asking for a moratorium on reimbursement and increases in airport charges. The message sent to Matignon and Bercy is clear: despite the summer upturn, French air transport still needs state aid to survive the crisis. Bis repetita.