May 1, 2019 / 8:56 AM / 6 months ago

SAS cancels more flights as parties in pilot strike meet for talks

Katinka Riksfjord Sporsem, Secretary General of The Norwegian Airline Pilots Association speaks to the media ahead of the talks between the parties in the SAS pilot strike at the offices of the Norwegian state mediator in Oslo, Norway May 1. 2019. NTB Scanpix/Fredrik Hagen via REUTERS

OSLO (Reuters) - Scandinavian airlines SAS said it would cancel more flights on Thursday as parties involved in a pilot strike held talks on Wednesday to try to resolve a six-day dispute that has left hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded.

More than 300,000 travelers have been hit by the stand-off over wages and other pilot demands which analysts estimate could cost SAS $10.5 million a day, threatening to wipe out the airline’s annual profit.

The airline said it would cancel more flights on Thursday until 1200 GMT, grounding 280 flights and 20,000 passengers. More than 500 flights scheduled for Wednesday, which is a public holiday in Sweden, have already been canceled, affecting some 47,000 passengers.

A Norwegian mediator called the meeting where all the negotiating teams would be sitting down together, a spokeswoman for SAS in Sweden told Reuters.

“We are glad the parties have been able to meet again and we hope that it can lead to a constructive dialogue so that this strike can be brought to an end,” she said.

SAS’ primary listing is on the Stockholm exchange, which was closed on May 1 but its Copenhagen-traded shares were up around 6 percent at 0939 GMT.

Its Stockholm-traded shares are down around 10 percent since the strike was announced.

Norwegian mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland had earlier told Norwegian news agency NTB that work hours, shifts and salaries would be discussed at the meeting which was scheduled to start at 11am local time (0900 GMT) in Oslo.

“We will try to find a solution to the conflict. I always believe in a solution, but this is challenging,” he told NTB.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo and Simon Johnson in Stockholm, writing by Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen; Editing by Keith Weir and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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