Source: CNN — A four-day strike by the pilots’ union of Lufthansa
threatens one of the world’s largest airlines and may disrupt travel on
more than two dozen partner airlines on Monday.
the pilot’s union, Vereinigung Cockpit, are holding talks this weekend
as a last ditch effort to avoid the strike. More than 4,000 pilots are
expected to walk off the job at midnight Monday (6 p.m. Sunday ET)
through Thursday over protracted contract negotiations centering around
pay and job security.
The industrial action starts the same day
that British Airways cabin staff are expected to announce the outcome
of its strike vote. And on Wednesday in Greece, a mass public and
private sector strike is being planned to protest the government’s
Lufthansa has already canceled two-thirds of its scheduled flights Monday to Thursday ahead of the strike.
officials admitted it would have a “heavy influence” on its
international operations, which includes flights to 80 countries
2008, Lufthansa was the number two international carrier by passengers
with 42.2 million, according to the International Air Transport
The threatened walkout comes as the airline
industry is digging out of the worst one-year drop-off in flights,
according to IATA.
In 2009, revenues dropped nearly 15 percent
worldwide after generating a record $535 billion the previous year.
Passenger travel fell a record 3.5 percent and freight fell more than
10 percent, according to IATA figures.
Lufthansa officials said at a news conference Thursday it would cost the airline about $33 million a day.
of Lufthansa’s pilots have been working without a contract since March
and more than 90 percent of the union’s members voted to strike, said
Jorg Handwerg, a pilot and representative for the union.
union sought a 6.4 percent pay increase. The union is also concerned
with the airline’s recent buying spree of small regional carriers, such
as BMI and Austrian Airlines which, it says, is cannibalizing flights
away from union-flown routes.
“We fly less hours and have less
potential for (performance-related bonuses),” Handwerg said. “We want
to have the opportunity to grow, but instead it shrinks.”
statement, Lufthansa said: “In addition to demands on job security,
however, the union also insisted on a greater say on fundamental
entrepreneurial issues, equating to intervention in business management
at the airline. That demand cannot be accepted.”
The airline is
allowing passengers to rebook flights for tickets purchased before
February 18 and plans to give German domestic passengers rail vouchers.
But one Lufthansa passenger said she is having trouble reaching a compromise with the airline.
spent several hours on the phone with Lufthansa to try and figure out
what I can do, but now I’ve been told that I can’t even get a refund,”
said Ruth Winblad, who is supposed to fly Monday from Gothenburg,
Sweden, to Rome, Italy.
Lufthansa is one of the largest carriers
on Star Alliance, a network of 26 airlines that share ticketing and
routes for international travel. Travelers on Star Alliance flights are
advised to check their tickets for Lufthansa flights and contact their
carrier about any potential changes, said Markus Ruediger, Star
Star Alliance member airlines are: Adria,
Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian,
Blue 1, BMI, Brussels Airlines, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines,
Egypt Air, Lot Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines,
Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair,
Swiss, Tap Portugal, Thai Airlines, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines
and U.S. Airways.
Partner airlines are preparing for the potential strike.
of our codeshare flights with Lufthansa may be affected during the
period of the strike. We are in contact with Lufthansa and will be
informed of the affected flights as soon as details are made
available,” said Nicholas Ionides, Singapore Airlines spokesman.
there be customers traveling on affected Lufthansa-operated codeshare
flights, they will be contacted and re-accommodated on the best next
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