Pilots’ Strike: Lufthansa crisis deepens

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Lufthansa Airline
Lufthansa Airline cancels more flights

The pilots’ strike at Lufthansa will result in the cancellation of 830 flights on Friday, affecting the travel plans of some 100,000 passengers, the German flagship carrier said on Thursday.

Lufthansa said long-haul flights would be “carried out virtually according to schedule.” Domestic and short-haul flights within Europe would be worst hit ahead of the weekend, the company added.

By the end of Friday, a total of 315,000 passengers will have been affected. A total of 876 flights were cancelled on Wednesday and 912 on Thursday.

Lufthansa repeated its call for the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots’ union to accept arbitration in the dispute, which stretches back to April 2014.

“As executive board, we are responsible for more than 120,000 staff members and aim to equip Lufthansa for the future. That would be impossible given a demand for 20 per cent more pay,” Lufthansa executive Harry Hohmeister said.

The company has offered 2.5 per cent up to the end of 2018. VC is demanding a total of 22 per cent for the period up to April 2017.

Lufthansa Group subsidiaries, including the Eurowings and Germanwings budget airlines, as well as AUA, Swiss, Brussels and Air Dolomiti, are unaffected.

Hohmeister termed VC’s demands “obscure” and “completely unacceptable,” noting that Lufthansa already paid its pilots more than was common at other carriers.

He called for a rapid return to talks, adding that every day on strike was costing the company around 10 million dollars, as well as damaging its reputation for reliability.

“We are seeing this in our medium-term bookings,” he said.

VC spokesman Joerg Handwerk accused company executives of “uncompromising business politics.”

German airports, including the main hubs at Frankfurt and Munich, were reported to be quiet.

Chaos was avoided by many Lufthansa passengers simply staying away from airports.

The company was providing ongoing information on its website and arranging alternatives for stranded passengers.

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