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Lufthansa to cancel 900 more flights over pilot strike

By The Citizen
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Germany’s flagship carrier Lufthansa has announced plans for the cancelation of over 900 more flights as a second day of strike by the airline’s pilots is expected to ground more passengers and planes across the country.

Lufthansa said on Wednesday that 912 flights, roughly one-third of its schedule, would be canceled on Thursday after a union of pilots announced that members had decided to continue their walkout for a second day.

The airline had decided to cancel nearly 900 of short- and long-haul flights out of Germany on Wednesday, leaving about 100,000 passengers stranded in airports. The new wave of cancelations is also expected to affect 115,000 passengers, Lufthansa said.

Vereinigung Cockpit, the union which represents the pilots, has insisted that the industrial action was a natural response to Lufthansa’s continued rejection of demands on pay and other working conditions.

The union has staged 13 previous walkouts in Germany since April 2014. It says a freeze in wages over the past years has cost pilots dearly while Lufthansa has made billions in profits. The airline rejects the claims, saying its policy has been to reduce costs amid increasing competition between airlines to offer cheaper services and flights.

Lufthansa urged the pilots and the Vereinigung Cockpit to stop the walkout and try to settle the dispute.

“Cockpit’s demand for a pay rise… goes far above what other groups of employees have received,” Bettina Volkens, Lufthansa’s human resources chief said, adding, “It is incomprehensible why the union is seeking the highest salary increase for the best paid group of employees.”

Lufthansa has also been grappling with walkouts by the cabin crew for the past two years, especially in its low-cost airlines Eurowings and Germanwings. A strike by staffers of Eurowings on Tuesday forced the company to scrap more than 60 flights at airports in Hamburg and Dusseldorf. – Press TV.