SIGTUNA, Sweden, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Scandinavian airline SAS said it would cut 800 jobs and sell an asset in Norway in an effort to cut $445 million in annual operating costs.
SAS also expects to cut salaries by 15 percent. Chief Executive Officer and President Rickard Gustafson has agreed to a 20 percent cut in pay, The Local.se reported Monday.
"This is truly our final call if there is to be a SAS in the future. We have been given this final chance to make a fresh start and to carry on these fundamental changes," Gustafson said.
"I know that we are asking a lot of our employees, but there is no other way. I hope that our loyal and dedicated employees are willing to fight for the survival of SAS and for our jobs," he said.
He said the savings would allow the company to invest in new aircraft "and to further develop our operations."
The company said the board of directors, after an emergency meeting, were unanimously behind the restructuring plan.
Following the job cuts, SAS will have a remaining workforce of about 9,000 employees.
The Swedish government owns 20 percent of SAS, but Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman said, "The government is willing to create the conditions for a limited time that will allow SAS to carry out the comprehensive changes called for."
A loan to the airline might be extended, but the government has no plans to increase provide more cash for the company.
On the contrary, the government is looking to divest itself of the 20 percent of the company it owns.
"The government's ambition is to continue to look for another owner for SAS," Norman said.
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