Lufthansa walk-out disrupts 315,000 passengers
Dublin route hit as three-day strike by Lufthansa pilots results in almost 2,000 flight cancellations
A panel showing cancelled flights at Munich airport in Germany on the second day of the Lufthansa pilots’ strike. Photograph: EPA/Stefan Puchner
Travellers were hit by a second day of chaos as a walk-out by Lufthansa pilots led to almost 2,000 flight cancellations.
Pilots represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit union began the three-day strike – their 14th since early 2014 – on Wednesday, prompting the grounding of almost 1,800 flights.
Lufthansa said it would scrap a further 830 short- and medium-haul flights on Friday, just over a quarter of its schedule, hitting more than 100,000 travellers. Most long-haul flights will be unaffected.
Over the three days the strike action will disrupt the travel plans of more than 315,000 passengers. A number of flights to and from Dublin were among those cancelled.
The walk-out began at midnight on Wednesday, and is due to run until Friday, ratcheting up pressure on management in a long-running pay dispute and threatening further disruptions for travellers.
The action has cost the German airline about €20 million over two days, and weighed on its mid-term bookings, a board member said on Thursday.
Customer behaviourHarry Hohmeister
Pilot strikes in 2014 cost Lufthansa €222 million, roughly €21 million per day, according to the IW Cologne Institute for Economic Research. In 2015, walk-outs by pilots and cabin crew cost it €231 million, around €30 million per day.
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 and Emirates on long-haul flights.
It has already agreed deals with the main unions representing ground staff and cabin crew in Germany, leaving an agreement with its pilots outstanding.
Pay and conditions
The airline has urged the union to enter mediation, but the union said it first wanted to see a better offer.
Despite the dispute with its German pilots, Lufthansa is moving forward with plans to expand lower-cost operations using a Eurowings unit based in Austria. It is in talks over bringing operations from Air Berlin and Brussels Airlines into the Eurowings platform.
The row is mirrored at rival Air France-KLM, which has also seen pilot strikes in France over plans to lower costs. –Reuters