Airline SAS asks employees to take a 20% pay cut

FILE PHOTO: A Scaninavian Airlines (SAS) plane is parked on the tarmac of Landvetter airport outside Goteborg, Sweden March 7, 2006. REUTERS/Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/Scanpix/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) - Airline SAS has invited unions to discuss a 20% work and pay cut for all employees as it fights to mitigate the effects of a slump in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, it said on Tuesday.

The company’s management had agreed to reduce their own salaries by 20% while continuing to work full time, a company spokeswoman said.

The news was initially reported by Norwegian business daily DN which cited an email sent internally at the carrier.

SAS, which is part-owned by Sweden and Denmark, last week said it was pursuing a number of measures to cut costs including a hiring freeze and reduced spending on personnel in response to a big drop in demand.

It said at the time measures related to personnel expenses may include temporary layoffs, voluntary leave, early retirement or other initiatives. Like other airlines, SAS is also reducing capacity, and has dropped its full-year guidance.

Airlines around the world on Tuesday sank deeper into crisis as the worsening epidemic and Italy’s lockdown hammered passenger numbers, forced the cancellation of thousands of flights and led to the delaying of plane orders.

SAS has suspended flights to northern Italy but not to Rome.

Nordic rival Norwegian Air on Tuesday said it would lay off staff and cut around 3,000 flights.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Victoria Klesty and Nick Macfie