Plans by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) to cut thousands more jobs will also cut around half its staff in Norway. Trade union confederation LO is calling on the state to offer even more emergency aid to aviation.
Around 1,300 workers in Norway look set to lose their jobs after management at SAS, mostly grounded along with airlines all over the world by the Corona virus crisis, announced plans Tuesday to terminate up to 5,000 employees. Pilots, flight attendants, ground crews and administrative personnel are among those targeted for termination, since the airline fears normal operations won’t resume for several years after the Corona pandemic eases.
The job cuts will be spread over 1,900 full-time employees in Sweden, 1,700 in Denmark and 1,300 in Norway. State broadcaster NRK reported that SAS had an average of 2,813 employees in Norway last year, meaning that its staff will be cut by 46 percent. SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson called the job cuts “the most painful message” he’s ever had to give to “competent and valuable colleagues, but unfortunately it’s necessary.”
The cuts “are proof of how serious this crisis is for aviation,” claimed LO in a statement to NRK. “The government must make sure we have airlines in Norway also when the crisis is over.” An LO spokeswoman added that it’s important for the state to not only preserve jobs but also to maintain route systems in Norway as part of critical infrastructure.
SAS’ announcement came a day after rival Norwegian Air unveiled a rescue plan of its own that it hopes will meet strict state requirements for emergency state aid. It otherwise faces bankruptcy, while domestic airline Widerøe is also struggling but already has state grants to serve small airports.