SAS cancelled 700 flights over CityJet-linked crewing issues

Airlines’ ‘wet leasing’ co-operation deal hit by staff shortages in peak summer season

CityJet provides craft and crew to fly regional routes for SAS. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

CityJet provides craft and crew to fly regional routes for SAS. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

 

A squeeze on crew at CityJet led to some recent flight cancellations at SAS, the Scandinavian carrier for which the Irish carrier operates a number of services.

CityJet provides craft and crew to fly regional routes for SAS, a practice known as “wet leasing”.

Both the CityJet and SAS confirmed that crew shortages resulted in a number of these services being cancelled over the last three months.

A CityJet spokesman said crew shortages in the peak summer season “had an impact” on the number of flights it operated.

“We do not have a problem recruiting crews and have a steady flow of pilots joining the airline,” he said. “However, in common with most regional airlines, we are also experiencing crews moving to other airlines to fly on larger craft, creating a temporary shortfall.”

Traffic control strikes

SAS’s spokesman acknowledged that pilot shortages at its wet-lease partners had led the group to cancel some flights over the last three months.

However, he explained that other problems, such as air traffic control strikes and problems, have also hit SAS’s services.

SAS axed 700 of a total of 78,000 scheduled flights in the last three months. The spokesman stressed that it regarded all cancellations as bad and ensured that passengers were reaccommodated and reached their destinations.

The Scandinavian carrier also confirmed that pilots at its Irish subsidiary, SAS Ireland, had written to the group complaining of poor working conditions and warning that the agency employing them is forcing them to compromise safety.

SAS Ireland flies routes across its parent’s network rather than simply to and from the Republic.

The group’s spokesman said that it was in “positive dialogue” with SAS Ireland’s pilots. “We never compromise on safety,” he said.