SAS aims for final union deal in survival fight

Updated 20 November 2012
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SAS aims for final union deal in survival fight

COPENHAGEN/STOCKHOLM: Scandinavian airline SAS yesterday sought a deal with the last union opposing its plans for severe cost cuts aimed at avoiding bankruptcy and securing the airline's long-term future.
SAS, half owned by the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, said it had secured a deal with seven of eight unions on wage cuts, working schedule changes and pensions and had only the cabin crew union of Denmark to go.
The airline, hit by competition from lower-price rivals, last week announced plans to cut some salaries by up to 17 percent and lower overall staff to about 9,000 from 15,000 as it shrinks its business. That prompted media speculation SAS faced bankruptcy if it failed to get unions to agree to the cuts.
But even if a deal is reached, analysts have questioned whether the airline can survive on its own in the long term as it faces competition from Ryanair and regional rival Norwegian Air Shuttle, both of which have lower operating costs.
“We have successfully negotiated seven of eight collective (union) agreements, which is gratifying,” SAS Chief Executive Rickard Gustafson told journalists during talks with unions at the main airport in the Danish capital Copenhagen.
“But there remains one union and we must have it on board too. That is a condition for carrying out our plan.”
The airline needs to get agreement from all eight unions as a condition of a 3.5 billion Swedish crown ($515 million) loan from the governments and six banks.
Progress in the talks sent SAS shares soaring.
By 1024 GMT, the stock was up 25 percent at 6.95 Swedish crowns. Since the start of 2011, the stock has lost 69 percent of its value to be worth under 2 billion Swedish crowns.
Gustafson said management aimed to conclude negotiations as soon as possible.
Although the airline had set a deadline of Sunday for an agreement, talks continued all night and into Monday.
SAS has reached deals with unions for pilots from Norway, Denmark and Sweden plus unions for cabin staff in Sweden and Norway.
“It has been a very grueling process,” said Espen Pettersen, deputy leader of the main Norwegian cabin union.
“We have made big concessions in this agreement. We are not very happy, but we felt we had no other choice but to sign to secure the jobs and the company,” he added.
Raising fears of a possible bankruptcy, SAS told crews on Sunday to ensure airplanes were fully fueled to be able to return home if needed.
The airline was also giving cash to flying staff to ensure they could get access to hotels.
SAS has declined to say how long its cash would last if it failed to secure a loan.
The airline aims to reduce costs by about 3 billion Swedish crowns ($ 441.05 million) a year. In January-September it had combined payroll and other operating costs of about 30 billion crowns.
Asset sales would strengthen the balance sheet another by 3 billion crowns.


Genesis G70 arrives in the Middle East

Updated 19 April 2018
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Genesis G70 arrives in the Middle East

Genesis has officially launched its compact G70 luxury sedan in Middle East markets, completing the brand’s core sedan lineup. Engineered as a dynamic car with strong appeal to younger customers and more enthusiastic drivers, the G70 joins the flagship G90 large sedan and mid-sized G80 and G80 Sport.

“Genesis has been very well received in the Middle East, and the Genesis G70 will be an exciting new chapter in our story,” said Altar Yilmaz, Genesis general manager for the Africa and Middle East region. “For many of our potential customers, this is the Genesis they have been waiting for.”

The arrival of the Genesis G70 in showrooms follows a previous display presentation at the Dubai International Motor Show in November 2017, where Genesis fielded a large number of inquiries about the car. With larger G80 and G90 models already growing a strong base of loyal customers, it is expected the compact model will add significantly to the brand’s appeal in the competitive Middle East luxury car market.

The G70 showcases the future direction of the Genesis brand’s “Athletic Elegance” design identity. 

“The G70’s interior is configured to prioritize an excellent user experience, with superb fit and finish throughout. The interior packaging reflects simplicity, with an emphasis on genuine functionality instead of gimmickry. A horizontal layout brings a sense of stability, with an intuitively laid-out switchgear and a comfortable, assertive sport steering wheel,” the carmaker said.

The G70 offers two powertrains in the Middle East region — a 3.3-liter V6 petrol turbo and 2.0-liter I4 petrol turbo.  The Lambda II 3.3-liter V6 turbo GDI engine is the heart of the enthusiast-focused G70 Sport, with 370 ps and maximum torque of 52.0 kg.m (510 N.m) 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in 4.7 seconds, and a top speed of 270 km/h.