Scandinavian carrier SAS has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights around the world due to a strike by pilots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Nearly 700 services have been cancelled today as members of the SAS Pilot Group – which represents about 95 per cent of the carrier’s pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden – stage a walk-out over failed negotiations on a pay rise.

Most domestic, European and long-haul services have been cancelled and passengers are advised to check the status of their flight because those operated by SAS’s partners are not affected (about 30 per cent of all departures). SAS says it is “striving to reach a solution as quickly as possible to prevent additional inconveniences for travellers”.

Passengers on flights affected by the walk-out will be rebooked, either by the airline or their travel agent, or have the option of cancelling their ticket for a refund. If SAS cannot rebook customers on a flight departing within 24 hours of their original take-off time, they can book with another carrier or a different mode of transport and be reimbursed for the difference between their unused SAS ticket and the cost of the alternative arrangement.

Pilots are asking for a 13 per cent wage increase and the union says mediation ended “without an agreement being reached”. A total of 1,409 pilots are taking part in the strike across the three countries.

However, SAS Pilot Group claims the negotiations are about work schedules rather than wages.

In a statement, the union said: “Many SAS pilots do not have control over when and how long they have to work. In the worst case, they risk having to work seven days in a row. Today’s scheduling rules are unsustainable. The majority of SAS pilots do not have fixed schedules but work according to a variable system for service. Not being able to plan your life is a big strain and we have therefore demanded better predictability.”

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