Lufthansa cancels dozens of long-haul flights due to strike

Pilots’ union calls all-day strike in dispute over pay, retirement benefits and cost cuts

Lufthansa cancelled just under half of its long-haul flights planned for Tuesday after pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) called an all-day strike in a long-running dispute over pay, retirement benefits and cost cuts.

The union said the strike, the 13th walkout in 18 months, would affect long-haul passenger flights and cargo flights out of Germany from 6am to 21.59 GMT on Tuesday. However, Lufthansa said it would operate 90 out of about 170 planned long-haul flights and all seven cargo flights thanks to pilots volunteering to work.

Lufthansa is trying to cut costs as it battles to maintain market share against budget rivals such as Ryanair.

Relations between the union, which represents about 5,000 Lufthansa and Germanwings pilots, and management, broke down again last week. The union has offered concessions, including increasing the average retirement age to 60 and looking at ways to bring costs down to a level comparable with EasyJet. "With our offer, we made it clear that the pilots are not against the necessary adjustments," VC spokesman Markus Wahl said.


As a precondition for talks, VC wants Lufthansa to halt the process of employing staff on non-German contracts for the expansion of its budget Eurowings division, which has an Austrian operating licence.

– (Reuters)