Wednesday, 30 November 2016

LUFTHANSA PILOTS ANNOUNCE THIRD DAY OF STRIKE

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Pilots with German airline Lufthansa have extended their strike action by another 24 hours in a long-running pay dispute. Lufthansa canceled 1,800 flights Wednesday and Thursday as its pilots union launched a strike.
While walkouts on Wednesday and Thursday affect both long and short-haul flights, Friday’s strike will only ground planes destined for short-haul routes out of Germany, the union said in a statement.
Lufthansa, led by CEO Carsten Spohr, insists that despite a record profit in 2015, it has no choice but to cut costs to compete with leaner rivals such as Ryanair on short-haul routes and Emirates on long-haul flights.
The Cockpit union argues that despite the airline posting “very good numbers for years,” its pilots have not received pay raises. They are asking for an annual average increase of 3.7 percent after experiencing no pay increases in more than five years.
Lufthansa canceled 876 of roughly 3,000 flights scheduled by its group airlines for Wednesday, and scrapped 912 flights for Thursday. It is the 14th strike in the dispute since early 2014. Lufthansa’s CEO has said he expects the strike to cost between 7 million euros and 9 million euros ($7.4 million to $9.6 million) a day. “We want the union to return to the negotiating table. Our door is wide open,” said a Lufthansa spokesman on Wednesday. The strike started at midnight and affects flights departing from German airports, including 133 long-haul flights.
Flights by Lufthansa’s other airlines, including Germanwings, Eurowings, Austrian Airlines, SWISS and Brussels Airlines, will not be affected, Lufthansa said.
Austrian and SWISS are using larger planes to carry passengers, while Lufthansa has reserved almost 4,000 hotel rooms in Frankfurt and Munich for stranded passengers.
Last year, a strike by flight attendants forced Lufthansa to cancel about 4,700 flights over seven days. The airline said that about 550,000 passengers were affected by the strike, which was the longest in its history.