Air Greenland edges closer to staff lockout

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Air Greenland intends to enforce a lockout of its pilots and cabin crew from 9 January if an industrial dispute between the two sides is not resolved.

Negotiations on the three-yearly pay and conditions agreement between the parties have stalled and hopes now rest on Denmark's official conciliation procedure to avert a shutdown of most of Greenland's air services. Greenland is a self-governing territory under the Danish crown.

The national carrier operates a single Airbus A330-200 on two routes from Narsarsuaq and Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen, as well as Bombardier Dash 7 and Dash 8 turboprops, De Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otters plus a large helicopter fleet to connect some 60 communities within Greenland. The Dash 8s also operate the company's only other international service, to Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.

Talks in Copenhagen yesterday between the airline and the Danish Service Union, which represents the smaller Danish Flying Industry Staff Union and the Flight Crew Association of Greenland, showed the two sides were still far apart, says the company. Air Greenland employs approximately 130 pilots and 75 cabin crew.

An Air Greenland spokesman says that standard practice in Denmark when opposing sides in an industrial dispute cannot find common ground is to call in the country's Conciliation Board, to see if it can bridge the gap.

An invitation from the board to both sides is anticipated this week, he says.

Air Greenland is owned by the governments of Greenland (37.5%), Denmark (25%) and Scandinavian Airlines (37.5%).