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Major strike could ground flights at Norway's airports on Wednesday

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Major strike could ground flights at Norway's airports on Wednesday
The deadline for agreement between employee and employer representatives is set for midnight on Tuesday. If no agreement is reached, the strike will start at noon on Wednesday. Photo by Kai Han on Unsplash

A looming airport strike in Norway could disrupt air traffic nationwide from Wednesday. If a deal isn't agreed, 140 employees will walk out and some airports may close to passenger traffic.

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If the negotiations between the employer and employee representatives fail, the potential airport strike, scheduled for Wednesday, could close several airports in Norway, severely impacting air travel.

The employees involved in the strike are part of Avinor, the state-owned company that operates most of Norway's airports.

If the employer organisation Spekter and the Norwegian Civil Service Union (NTL) do not reach an agreement, the strike will start on Wednesday.

The strike would affect crucial operations such as fire and rescue services, technical maintenance, and administrative functions. These disruptions could force many airports to halt all passenger traffic.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled in Norway?

'Major consequences' expected, including cancellations

Oslo Airport Director Thorgeir Landevaag warned that the strike could have a major impact on airport operations.

"This strike will have major consequences in terms of cancellations at the affected airports.

"At several airports, all passenger traffic will stop, and at some airports, there will be no traffic at all," Landevaag said in a press release.

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Unions: High risk of strike

Last week, Lise Olsen, a union negotiations representative, told the Norwegian news agency NTB that there is always a considerable strike risk when talks end up going to mediation.

She noted that the gap between the negotiating sides has been substantial.

The mediation deadline is set for midnight on Tuesday, but if no agreement is reached, the strike will start at noon on Wednesday.

A number of airports could be greatly affected

The potential airport strike would likely severely impact Bergen Airport in western Norway, where all passenger traffic is expected to halt if the airport employees walk out.

"Travellers at Bergen Airport should prepare for significant disruptions as all passenger flights will be cancelled," airport director Helge Eidsnes said.

"Those planning to fly to or from Bergen should consider alternative travel arrangements," Eidsnes added.

The strike's effects would not be limited to Bergen. It may also have knock-on effects at other airports that are not directly affected by the strike.

Aside from Oslo and Bergen, the initial strike could also affect airports in Brønnøysund, Førde, Kirkenes, Kristiansand, and Ålesund. 

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How the strike could affect different Norwegian airports

At Bergen Airport, all passenger traffic will cease if the strike goes forward, as is the case with Brønnøysund Airport.

Similarly, Førde Airport will close to all passenger traffic, though smaller private planes and helicopters will not be affected.

At Kirkenes Airport, all traffic will be stopped on certain days, but on other days, it will remain unrestricted exclusively for air ambulances and Widerøe flights.

Kristiansand Airport, where ten union members plan to go on strike, will operate almost normally during the day.

However, in the afternoon and evening, only ambulance aircraft and Widerøe machines will be operational.

At Oslo Airport, the impact will be minimal beyond the postponement of planned maintenance and minor works.

Lastly, Ålesund Airport will only handle ambulance flights during the day and will close to all traffic in the afternoon and evening.

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SAS and Norwegian have issued advice to passengers regarding the potential strike.

Norwegian advised all passengers to proceed with their travel plans as usual, while SAS has warned passengers to be prepared for potential cancellations and delays.

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