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Lufthansa Strike News: Pilots Walked Out, Almost Two Thousand Flights Cancelled

Travelers Today       By    Nicole Ynayan

Updated: Nov 24, 2016 02:20 AM EST

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Nearly two thousand Lufthansa flights have been cancelled due to an ongoing pilot union strike which began on Wednesday. Flight delays and further flight cancellations for the German airline are to be expected, following the union's decision to extend the pilot walk out movement to Friday.

The pilot union-led strike has caused the suspension of 876 Wednesday flights and 912 Thursday flights, affecting over 200, 000 passengers. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the cancelled flights include at least seven US-bound Thanksgiving holiday flights.

The Lufthansa strike marks the fourteenth Vereinigung Cockpit pilots union strike since the initial pilot walkout in April of 2014. As reported by Lufthansa, a total of over 12, 000 flights have been cancelled, affecting nearly 1.5 million passengers in the past three years.

Lufthansa chief executive, Carsten Spohr, has stated that the airline is expected to maintain a profit that is along the lines of the 2015 margin. He has also stated that the ongoing strike marks losses of seven to nine million euros per day.

The union calls for a 3.7 percent salary increase for the airline's 5, 400 pilots, initially proposed in 2012. BBC News stated that negotiations between the union and the German carrier began earlier in the month. However, the union has continuously rejected Lufthansa's offers for 2.5 percent increases over the next six years.

Lufthansa had already experienced significant profit losses due to the rising pressure of cheaper competitor airlines and the decreased demand for European flights, thus raising the need for the airline's cost-cutting practices. Recent terrorist threats have also significantly weakened the airline's growth and earning potential.

Following the union's initial call for a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, the German airline appealed to the German labor court, in hopes of receiving a temporary injunction to cancel the strike. However, following initial request denial, as well as the appeal's failure, the union strike is expected to continue well into Friday.

The chief of human resources at Lufthansa, Bettina Volkens, has stated that the demands of the union are neither rational nor reasonable. In addition, Volkens has declared that it is uncharacteristic of the union to demand the highest salary increase rate for its highest paid employee group.

Despite the strike by the flagship German airline, Breaking Travel News has stated that flights from other airlines will not be affected by the strike. Airlines such as Eurowings, Germanwings, as well as other German and Swiss airlines will continue formal operation.

It has also been noted that flights operating under Lufthansa's associate, operated under Group airlines, will not be affected by the pilot walkout. Flight operations from hubs in Switzerland, Austria and Brussels will continue as usual.

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