Lufthansa cancels almost half of flights due to pilots' strike
The cancellations will affect more than 150,000 passengers, Lufthansa said in an e-mailed statement, which adds to pressure from a stuttering global economy and increased competition.
German pilots’ union VC had called a two-day strike at the carrier, starting midday on Monday, after talks broke down over retirement benefits late last week.
The dispute over proposed changes to an early retirement scheme for pilots that was developed decades ago has already resulted in eight separate strikes this year, wiping 160 million euros ($199 million) off the carrier’s operating profit.
Lufthansa, which last month lowered its profit guidance for 2015 for the second time this year, is expanding low-cost operations to better compete with budget carriers and Gulf rivals and to outflank the pilots’ union.
Shares in Lufthansa fell 4.6 percent in pre-market trade at brokerage Lang & Schwarz on Monday, while the German blue-chip DAX index was seen down 0.6 percent lower.
The union has said the Germany-wide strike is to last from midday on Monday to 11:59 pm on Tuesday for short- and medium-haul flights, as well as from 3 a.m. to 11:59 pm on Tuesday for long-haul flights.
Pilots flying for Lufthansa Cargo will also strike from 3 a.m. to 11.59 pm on Tuesday. Flights of budget arm Germanwings will not be affected. (Reuters)