SAS has filed for bankruptcy in the United States, the Scandinavian airline said on Tuesday, warning strike action by pilots had impacted its financial position and liquidity.
The company said in a statement on Tuesday it would continue to serve its customers throughout the bankruptcy process, although the pilot strike is impacting its flight schedule.
It said the purpose of the filing was to accelerate a restructuring plan announced in February.
“To proceed with the implementation of key elements of the plan, SAS and certain of its subsidiaries have voluntarily filed for chapter 11 in the U.S., a legal process for financial restructuring conducted under U.S. federal court supervision,” it said.
SAS needs to attract new investors and has said that in order to do that it must slash costs across the company, including for staff and for leased planes that stand idle because of closed Russian airspace and a slow recovery in Asia.
The airline said on Tuesday its assessment was that it has sufficient liquidity to meet its business obligations in the near term.
It added however that the strike “has a negative impact on the liquidity and financial position of the company and, if prolonged, such impact could become material”.
Nordnet analyst Per Hansen said the application showed SAS needs a fresh start and that it thinks the strike will drag on.
“Chapter 11 protection comes early,” he said. “Management and the board want to make it absolutely clear for all stakeholders that the situation is very serious.”
During the pandemic, several airlines such as LATAM and Philippine Airlines have also filed for Chapter 11 protection in the United States. Philippine Airlines has exited, while LATAM expects to exit in the second half of this year.