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Hundreds more flights cancelled as Lufthansa strike continues

02 December 2016 09:35

Lufthansa pilots have continued with industrial action and hundreds more flights have been cancelled

Lufthansa pilots have continued with industrial action and hundreds more flights have been cancelled

Pilots at German airline Lufthansa are on strike again after a two-day break in their campaign of walkouts.

The company cancelled 816 short-haul flights scheduled for Tuesday and 890 flights on Wednesday after pilots again extended their strike in an ongoing dispute over wages.

Lufthansa said some 82,000 passengers will be affected by Tuesday's walkout, and 98,000 by Wednesday's are affected.

The industrial action by the Cockpit union is to be followed on Wednesday by a strike hitting both short-haul and long-haul services.

There were four consecutive days of walkouts last week.

The airline failed to persuade a Munich court to issue an injunction blocking the latest strike.

Thousands of passengers affected

Lufthansa has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights a day.

Maintaining that the airline, Germany's largest, has been posting significant profits for years, the union has demanded retroactive raises of 3.66% a year going back five-and-a-half years.

Lufthansa has countered with a significantly lower offer and has proposed bringing in an arbitrator.

The latest strike by Cockpit is the 14th since April 2014 in the long-running dispute. It comes as Lufthansa restructures to meet increasing competition from Gulf airlines and European budget carriers.

"With a demand of 20% wage increases we cannot make Lufthansa fit for the future," said Lufthansa executive Harry Hohmeister.

European rules on compensation do not apply when strikes cause cancellations, but the airline is obliged to provide meals and accommodation as necessary, as well as finding seats on other airlines.

Union 'sorry' for impact on travellers

The union, which has 9,600 members, says it "regrets the impact on the passengers, cabin crew and ground staff".

Lufthansa says it "will do everything possible to keep the impact as low as possible".

The strike is taking place at a time when there is a reasonable amount of capacity on other carriers. But there are fears that the pilots may continue industrial action in the build-up to the busy Christmas season.

Holidaymakers should take out travel insurance to help minimise the impact of delayed or cancelled flights.