‘Danish aviation is a threat to their life.’
With this passage initiates the director Torben Østergaard a letter to several ministers and mps.
He is responsible for Denmark’s largest charterflyselskab, Sunclass Airlines, which employs about 1,200.
“the Situation is quite serious. All of our 11 aircraft is stationary. It could cost Danish jobs, if the airlines have Danish employees and follows the Danish collective agreements, do not get help,” explains Torben Østergaard and lets understand that the company’s fate now is up to whether the owners will cover the losses. More on that later.
Sunclass Airlines is the sister company to the well-known travel agents, Spies and Ving. The company has under various names been flying danes to the beach and other charteroplevelser since 1965.
It was, in its time created by rejsekongen and levemanden Simon Spies under the name Conair.
Now find the airline in a crisis unparalleled in its 55-year history.
“We’re losing one to one and a half million dollars a day,” says Torben Østergaard.
Recently the company completed a flight, the 28. march 2020.
Here was the company hired by the Ministry of foreign affairs to download the danes home from the Philippines. Since all the aircraft have been on the ground.
But the company continues to have large expenditures for, among other things wages. Hjælpepakkerne from the government is a crutch, but the money is not enough.
Sunclass get like all the other companies only compensation for the salary up to 30,000 crowns. The rest must the company pay.
Although employees have agreed in a reduction of the salary of one-third of all income more than 23,000 crowns, the rows it does not.
“We are an industry with relatively high average wages. Therefore, it covers nowhere near the costs we have to pay,” says Torben Østergaard.
Torben Østergaard believes that the aviation situation, really is to equate with a tvangslukning, because the border has been closed.
At a tvangslukning get the company 100 percent compensation by the state for the fixed costs for example rent and lease obligations, as Sunclass Airlines has many of.
Torben Østergaard also believe that there are Danish jobs are at stake.
Sunclass Airlines is one of the companies, who reward employees according to the Danish agreement, and where both the administrative staff, mechanics, and cabin crew are mainly Danish – alternatively from the nordic countries.
“If airlines like us and the Jet Time, which also has base in Denmark, it disappears, it will be companies with other positions to working conditions and foreign workers, which will be used. It means incredibly much, where the carrier is resident. It could cost Danish jobs, and it must the politicians know,” says Torben Østergaard.
Ends it here in the bankruptcy, if you do not get additional stimulus?
“I can’t answer That completely unique. We have some new owners, and it is their decision whether they want to or can stick your hand under us,” says Torben Østergaard and whereas the owners behind, which counts two nordic, and one british private equity fund, which operates under the name the Nordic Leisure Travel Group.
He believes that it is important that the current stimulus packages being extended and improved with a greater degree of compensation.
“It is of paramount importance for decisions on, for example, to put more money in the company, that there are clear lines for the rest of the year,” says Torben Østergaard.
Torben Østergaard is concerned that the crisis goes much deeper than just it to get reopened Denmark:
“It is too much psychology in it here. How people start to respond, when the first which will be opened up again. We respond with fear, or is there a earned wanderlust? We don’t know, but we are sure that there is a long time before we are back to normal,” says Torben Østergaard.
minister of trade Simon Kollerup (S) acknowledges the challenges aviation is facing:
“There is no doubt that aviation is one of the industries that is hardest hit by the crisis, we find ourselves in, and I have a great understanding of the frustrations, Sunclass Airlines are experiencing and expressing. The challenges are very real and the future uncertain. It is clear,” he writes.
“the Government is aware that there may be a need to adjust and extend the hjælpepakkerne, and is therefore already in the process of negotiating with political parties.”