What Are Lufthansa Pilots Striking for Now?
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For the second time this year, Lufthansa pilots are staging a 24-hour strike, according to the airline.
The strikes are expected to impact both short- and long-haul services offered by Europe's leading airline on Wednesday and Thursday.
As a result, the carrier has canceled 750 out of a scheduled 1,400 flights within Europe and 84 of its 153 long-haul flights scheduled for Thursday, according to Reuters. Keep in mind that flights at Lufthansa brands Germanwings, Eurowings, Air Dolomiti, Swiss and Austrian aren't expected to be impacted by the latest pilot strikes.
The pilots are currently at odds with the German carrier over a number of different issues, including early retirement benefits as well as Lufthansa's other cost-cutting efforts.
The Vereinigung Cockpit union, which staged 10 strikes in 2014, has said that this week's strikes are in response to the ongoing dispute over early retirement benefits. "Lufthansa plans to phase out its early retirement scheme that currently sees pilots retire at 55 and retain around 60 percent of their pay until they reach the state pension age," writes BuyingBusinessTravel.com's Tom Newcombe.
"The strike is extended to increase the pressure on the management of Lufthansa," the union said in a statement earlier this week. "The VC is very sorry that this means that passengers will be affected again."
But while the strike is a major inconvenience for air travelers, it's certain to hurt Lufthansa where it matters.
Equinet analyst Jochen Rothenbacher estimates that the current strikes are costing Lufthansa roughly €15 million ($15.9 million) a day in lost profit.
According to FlightAware.com, Frankfurt Airport and Munich Airport are currently being impacted the most by the strikes. As of 11:45 a.m. ET (4:45 p.m. local time) on Wednesday, 360-plus flights have been canceled at Frankfurt, with another 200-plus having been canceled at Munich.
Passengers scheduled to fly with Lufthansa on Thursday should check their flight status on the airlines' website.
Pilot's union Vereinigung Cockpit announces strike on 18 March 2015 for short & medium haul operations: http://t.co/zi7NLjQRPL— Lufthansa (@lufthansa) March 17, 2015
Affected customers will be able to rebook or get a refund.
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