SAS is reported to have clinched deals with two Norwegian unions and is pushing on with talks with others in a bid to ensure the group’s survival and avoid bankruptcy.


The airline, hit by competition from lower-price rivals, last week announced plans to cut some salaries by up to 17%, lower overall headcount to about 9,000 from 15,000 and reduce costs.


SAS, half-owned by the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, had said a deal with unions on wage cuts, changes to working hours and pensions must be reached by Sunday, but talks were extended into today


A SAS spokeswoman told Reuters that the airline had inked deals with Norwegian cabin crew unions SNK and NKS, and it was still in talks with the remaining six unions.


Chief operating officer Flemming Jensen said: “We are happy to have reached an agreement with the first union.


“We have had a very narrow negotiating mandate and this agreement is of course within those frames.”


Lars Bjorking, chairman of the Danish Pilots Union, said in a statement on behalf of the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian pilots’ unions: “We have compromised with SAS on all parameters – wages, pensions and productivity.”


The three governments and six banks have said they will lend SAS about 3.5 billion Swedish crowns ($515 million) if the airline can secure a deal with unions to slash costs.


The spokeswoman said: “What we can say is that we are still in intense negotiations.


“We can’t say right now how long we will be in these negotiations. Our hope is, of course, that we will reach these agreements and that we fly as usual.”