The Norwegian government has agreed to literally buy more routes from airlines serving Norway, to guarantee flights between key cities for another three months. That didn’t prevent Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) from terminating several hundred pilots, and the airlines’ employers organization claims more emergency state aid is needed.
A minimum level of airline service in Norway will continue through the rest of the year, at a cost to taxpayers of around NOK 190 million (USD 21 million). Norway’s transport ministry renewed its agreements with SAS, Norwegian Air and Widerøe to ensure flights through December 31.
Employers’ organization NHO Luftfart was disappointed, however, saying that it had hoped the government would subsidize more flights and routes, at higher rates of pay. NHO was at least pleased that the government is also offering the airlines tax relief, while ensuring airline service between Oslo and Northern Norway and the West Coast. Flights will also be preserved between cities in Northern Norway, along with one flight a day between Tromsø and Svalbard.
SAS, meanwhile, confirmed on Thursday that it will be terminating several hundred pilots after the airline failed to agree with the pilots’ unions on temporary and permanent staffing cuts resulting from the Corona crisis. With most flights grounded, all SAS pilots have been working just 50 percent in order to keep as many as possible on staff.