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SAS admits warns investors it may miss full-year targets after pilot strike

The Scandinavian airline issued a warning to investors that it will find it difficult to hit its full-year targets after a recent strike by pilots.

SAS has issued a warning to investors that it is unlikely to hit its full-year earnings forecast after a recent strike by pilots over pay and working conditions put a significant dent in the airline’s second quarter results.

The Scandinavian airline, which is still state-owned by Sweden and Denmark after Norway sold its entire holding in the carrier, had expected to record a strong set of annual results.

Pilot strike major blow as SAS contends with multiple headwinds

SAS, along with its European rivals, have had to contend with soaring fuel prices and intense competition between carriers to cut ticket prices.

The Scandinavian airline has also struggled to keep costs down after renewing its aging fleet of planes, with the pilots’ strike nullifying the company’s restructuring efforts over several years to help the business find stable footing.

The pilots’ strike forced SAS to cancel approximately 4,000 flights between April 26 and May 3, with around 370,000 customers being affected.

SAS share price down 6% as pilot strike takes its toll

SAS has said that the strike is estimated to cost the airline around SEK 650 million (£53.5 million), with the news helping to send its share price 6% lower on Wednesday morning.

The news prompted the airline to consider more restructuring efforts and to extend its existing programme as far as 2021.

'It will be about having to think in new ways about how we use digital solutions to automate many more tasks that we today handle manually,' SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson told Reuters.

'Operating an airline requires an extreme amount of complex planning - of maintenance, of networks, of staffing. This machinery is of course well suited for optimising with modern technology. There is still a lot to do here,' he added.

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