Strike Action Downs 830 Lufthansa Flights

By Ikenga Chronicles November 24, 2016

The ongoing strike action by pilots of German flagship carrier Lufthansa over wages increase has halted 830 flights Friday,‎ with over 100,000 passengers to be grounded. The strike action which has entered the third day by the pilots over a pay rise of 3.66 percent has forced the airline to cancel 2,618 flights.

The union argue pilots have endured a wage freeze over that time and suffered a “significant loss of purchasing power” due to inflation, while Lufthansa has made billions in profits. Lufthansa had offered a 2.5 percent wage hike.

In their reaction, Lufthansa’s hub management board member Harry Hohmeister said it was “not possible” to meet the pilots’ demand for a bigger wage hike.

“The starting point is that we already pay our pilots far better than our competitors” he said.

Affected passengers have been given the opportunity to re-book their flights without charge, the airline said. It has also booked thousands of hotel rooms for stranded travellers, while camp beds have been set up at Frankfurt airport for passengers who do not have a valid visa to enter Germany.

Meanwhile, the strike costs the airline some 10 million euros ($10.5 million) a day. Lufthansa has been battling a series of walkouts by both cabin crew and pilots over the last two years, as it aims to bring down costs to survive competition from low-cost rivals such as EasyJet and Ryanair. Recall that in July, it brought an end to the long-running industrial dispute with cabin crew through a deal on pay and working conditions, including a no-strike agreement and job guarantees until 2021.

Lufthansa group’s other airlines includes Germanwings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Air Dolomiti and Brussels Airlines — are not affected by this week’s strike.

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