As the worldwide Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic rages on, another carrier has suspended operations following a “non-existent” demand for flights. The airline released a statement today, March 16 2020, stating:
Due to the coronavirus and the measures implemented by national authorities, the demand for air travel is essentially non-existent. SAS has therefore decided to put most of its operations on hold, starting Monday March 16 and until necessary prerequisites for commercial air traffic returns.
To support our customers, we will in the next few days do our utmost to uphold a certain level of operation to enable travelers to return from their destinations.
Information regarding the traffic situation and specific flights will be constantly updated on our website. Affected passengers will be notified. The waiting time at our call centers is extraordinary long. We kindly ask that you only call us if your flight departs within the next 3 days.”
The approach by Scandinavian airlines (SAS) differs from counterpart carriers, some of whom have only reduced flight numbers or capacity; SAS have fully suspended operations acknowledging the global demand and crisis that is developing due to Coronavirus. The move follows the shutting down of borders in the carriers operating region, Scandinavia, including Denmark, Norway and Sweeden.
However, the cut-back is not without victim. The airline is reportedly laying off 90% of it’s workforce, approximately 10,000 employees, keeping only small numbers of staff for the carriers main flights at the moment – repatriation flights chartered by country governments. However, the Danish government have since stepped forward, announcing their support for upto 75% of workers wages in the airline and aviation industries, retroactive to March 9, and active up-till June 9 2020; Following this move, the government also asked companies to temporarily lay-off staff, but not make them permanently redundant. The carrier commented:
The reductions will be implemented through all parts of the operation, according to national regulations. SAS is carrying out these measures for the purpose of return to normal operation as soon as possible.”
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