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SAS sees $200 million in savings through 2026 from pilot labour deal

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Crisis-hit Scandinavian airline SAS sees savings of $200 million through 2026 from a new collective bargaining deal reached with most of its pilots following a crippling two-week strike in July.

The flag carrier, pressured for years by low-cost rivals and ravaged by the pandemic, in February announced a big restructuring plan, and on the second day of the strike sought U.S. bankruptcy protection.

"The cost savings of approximately $200 million through 2026 provided for in the New CLA's (collective labour agreements) are an essential component of the SAS FORWARD plan," lawyers representing SAS said in a document filed Sept. 3 to the bankruptcy court.

SAS in July said the deal landed with pilots would help it achieve part of the $700 million of annual cost savings set out in the restructuring plan known as SAS FORWARD.

It at the time said the 5-1/2 year agreement with four of its pilot unions included higher productivity, increased flexibility in seasonal capacity and a commitment by SAS to rehire pilots laid off during the pandemic. Pilots said they agreed to large pay cuts.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Jonathan Oatis)