Swedish pilots at airline SAS rejected a bid tabled by mediators and began preparing to strike as a midnight deadline to reach a deal was passed, but Norwegian unions plowed on with their negotiations.
Danish, Norwegian and Swedish pilot unions had earlier this month called for 1,500 pilots to go on strike on April 26 if no agreement was reached on wages and other issues after an earlier round of talks failed to bear results.
Torbjörn Granevärn, head of negotiations at the Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises` airlines section, said Swedish pilots had rejected the proposal despite provisions that provided greater scheduling predictability.
"We think that is very unfortunate," he said in an emailed statement late on Thursday.
Freja Annamatz, a spokeswoman for the Scandinavian airline, was not immediately reachable for comment.
SAS, which normally flies around 800 flights per day, had said earlier on Thursday that it would cancel 205 flights from midnight until noon on Friday as a precautionary measure as the negotiations between SAS and four pilot unions had dragged on.
Norwegian state mediator Mats Ruland told public broadcaster NRK that the breakdown of Swedish mediation did not directly affect negotiations with pilots in Norway.
As a midnight deadline passed, Norsk Pilotforbund, one of two Norwegian unions, said their talks were still ongoing. The Danish union was not immediately reachable for comment.
A strike by all the unions would affect 70 percent of SAS flights, with the remaining 30 percent operated by partners left unaffected. Around 170,000 travellers could be impacted if the strike lasted through the weekend, according to Annamatz.
Earlier this week, the airline offered travellers concerned about a possible strike the chance to reschedule flights for the April 26-29 period to another date free of charge.
SAS is in the midst of renewing an elderly and fuel-intensive fleet after spending years cutting costs in the face of cut-price competition from budget carriers such as Norwegian Air Shuttle and Ryanair.
The airline reported a bigger-than-expected loss for its fiscal first quarter in February, but said it still expected to record a profit for the full year.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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