EXPERT: NHH professor Frode Steen does not think the SAS pilots will get better contracts elsewhere.
Elnæs also points out that the pilots must have the right qualifications for the type of aircraft the individual company uses. The low-cost airline EasyJet flies Airbus, such as SAS, while Ryanair, for example, flies Boeing.
– If you do not have the right certificates, you have to pay maybe 200,000 kroner for new ones, he says.
Some companies require the pilot to pay. Other companies make arrangements to pay for the certificates, but the pilot is then often tied to the company with a contract over several years.
Differences in working conditions
– I think it is important to understand what kind of company SAS is. They have a complicated grid, which makes it more difficult for them to program and plan flight programs for pilots and cabin crew, says Elnæs.
– How has SAS been considered among pilots in other companies?
– I think SAS has been very well regarded as a company. It is actually the case that when you first start flying in SAS, you do not quit until you retire, says Elnæs.
In Ryanair, for example, the influx of pilots is much greater, as is often the case with low-cost airlines.
Elnæs points out several points where SAS differs from the competitors in the low-cost airlines.
A Ryanair pilot who, for example, is based in Barcelona and plans to work there for a while, will be able to see the roster about two years ahead.
A SAS pilot will have a shift schedule of only 1-2 months ahead.
SAS pilots VG has spoken to say that they receive shift schedules for the following month on the 15th of each month.
The rotation in the shift schedule:
Pilots in Ryanair often work five days on, four days off.
SAS has no fixed rotation in the same way.
Ryanair has bases in many places in Europe, where pilots must live or get to before they go to work.
The pilots in SAS do not have to commute to any extent, if they live near a SAS base, and can live at home with the family in Oslo, Copenhagen or Stockholm.
STEAKER: SAS pilots are on strike at Youngstorget in Oslo on Thursday. Several factors
Steen emphasizes that there are hardly any companies that are comparable to SAS.
– If we look at KLM / Air
France, for example: They have achieved two things. One is that they have their own low-cost airlines that fly most of the tourist routes. The second is that they have managed to reduce the cost level more than SAS.
In addition, SAS is “very” trade unionized with trade unions in three countries.
– This makes the processes even more complicated when negotiating working conditions. It is a complicated affair for SAS where this organization across countries has slowed down the process of improving over time, says Steen.
He says that this has led to SAS still not being as competitive as the other network companies today.
Steen also points out that the administration in the company is far away from those who fly.
– There are many stages in the decision-making process, which thus becomes very inefficient. I think there is a lot of efficiency to be gained throughout the organization, he says.
In low-cost companies, there is a shorter distance between the decision-maker and those who perform the job.
– But having said that: Over time, SAS employees have not been willing to take the cuts. Then you can ask why they should take them. Why they should be in a worse position than other Scandinavians, says Steen.
He emphasizes that aviation can be compared to shipping: it is an industry with
– The pilot salary is not the primary problem. What is a bigger problem is the agreements around. Time use, how to organize yourself and pension conditions – something SAS has traditionally had good agreements for, says Steen.
Steen emphasizes that working conditions are more than wages and working hours.
– It is job security, pension. It is a complicated picture and it is difficult to calculate these factors and compare, for example, a SAS and Norwegian pilot, he says.
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