Loss making Scandinavian airline SAS to cut 6,000 jobs, reduce wages and sell assets

SAS, the loss making Scandinavian airline, today unveiled a drastic cost-cutting plan of eliminating 6,000 jobs, selling assets, and reducing wages, as part of its final chance of turning the ailing Nordic carrier around.

Rickard Gustafson, chief executive of SAS, said, ''This truly is our 'final call' if there is to be a SAS in the future… I know we are asking a lot of our employees, but there is no other way.''

Under the restructuring, SAS will reduce its headcount from 15,000 employees to 9,000, with 800 administrative staff losing their jobs.

The carrier, which has never made a profit since 2007, will sell several units, including its airport real estate, unused aircraft engines, ground handling unit, and its Widerøe regional airline in Norway to raise around 3 billion kronor ($444 million).

It has already started talks with potential buyers for its ground handling unit, which employs 5,000 people, and ''is considering all options'' for Wideroe, which employs 1,400 people.

It will also raise loans from seven banks and the governments of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, which is conditional on the airline signing agreements with unions on the job and wage cuts.