Striking Lufthansa pilots ground nearly 900 flights

Members of the Frankfurt airport ground staff protest against the strike of the Lufthansa pilots, during a counter-demonstration in front of the Lufthansa headquarters in Frankfurt on Wednesday. pic/afp
Members of the Frankfurt airport ground staff protest against the strike of the Lufthansa pilots, during a counter-demonstration in front of the Lufthansa headquarters in Frankfurt on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

Berlin: The latest strike by Lufthansa pilots grounded 900 flights yesterday and German companies and other Lufthansa staff called for an end to the protests, which are costing the airline €10-15 million a day.

Pilots staged a four-day strike last week then resumed their protest on Tuesday over pay that dates back to 2014, taking the number of cancelled flights in the latest round of walkouts to about 4,500.

One of Lufthansa’s major corporate customers, Siemens, said the strikes were harming the Germany economy and the country’s image and warned Lufthansa that it needed to become more reliable.

“We have to consider how we can deal with this on a long-term basis,” Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser told German daily Bild, adding that the pilots should resume talks.

Analysts have said the walkouts are a good opportunity for rivals Ryanair and easyJet to gain market share and could mean Lufthansa misses its 2016 profit aim. Its shares dropped 2.7 per cent yesterday.

While the pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) has been tweeting messages of support from other pilot unions, the officers will face a counter-demonstration from Lufthansa ground crew, who feel the pilots are hurting the company and endangering jobs.

A Lufthansa spokesman said they were considering comments by VC that it would resume talks if a pay increase of 5 per cent were used as a basis for negotiations.

7,748
No. of Lufthansa flights hit due to staff walkouts in 2015

€231mn
Airline’s lost profit due to the flights affected

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