25,000 passengers affected as Swedish pilots strike


STOCKHOLM — A one-day strike by pilots disrupted travel plans for some 25,000 passengers in Sweden Wednesday as 500 flights were cancelled, an industry official said.

“Around to 25,000 passengers are affected. I was just at Arlanda (Stockholm’s international airport) and saw that domestic flights were completely halted, but many international flights are still departing, those of international airlines,” Peter Jeppsson, director general of the Swedish Air Transport Industry Employers’ Association, told AFP.

Some 500 departures on Swedish airlines were cancelled because of the strike by 2,000 pilots, he said.

Scandinavia’s main carrier SAS meanwhile said in a statement a minority of its flights were cancelled and all its intercontinental traffic was flying as planned.

The chairman of the Swedish Airline Pilots Association, Gunnar Mandahl, said that the stoppage had arisen from a labour conflict concerning four regional airlines, but that the rest of the association’s members had gone on strike in solidarity.

The pilots of the regional airlines were to strike until 11:00 pm (2100 GMT), while the others were to end their walk-out at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT).

Besides working conditions, the dispute also involves a proposal by one of the regional carriers, Avia Express, to hire pilots through an interim agency.

Air ambulance services were not affected by the strike, Jeppsson said.

Swedish rail company SJ said it would add some 2,000 extra seats on lines between major Swedish cities to accommodate passengers affected by the strike.