Air traffic: Lufthansa cancels 800 flights on Friday due to pilot strikes

Lufthansa is canceling almost its entire program because of the announced pilot strike on Friday.

Air traffic: Lufthansa cancels 800 flights on Friday due to pilot strikes

Lufthansa is canceling almost its entire program because of the announced pilot strike on Friday. Around 800 flights with an estimated 130,000 affected passengers are canceled at the Munich and Frankfurt hubs, the company announced on Thursday.

The all-day strike will have a major impact on flight operations during the main return journey at the end of the school holidays in several federal states. There could also be flight cancellations on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The companies Eurowings and Eurowings Discover are not affected by the strike call and are scheduled to fly. Lufthansa flights from non-German starting points also take place, provided that aircraft and crews are already abroad.

The union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) has called on the pilots of the core company and the freight subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo to go on a day-long strike.

Lufthansa HR Director Michael Niggemann called on VC to return to the negotiating table. According to the announcement, he said: "We have absolutely no understanding of VC's call for a strike. The employers' side has made a very good and socially balanced offer - despite the lasting effects of the Corona crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy." The escalation is at the expense of thousands of customers.

According to Lufthansa, VC's demands would increase personnel costs in the cockpit by 40 percent. Most recently, the company offered an increase in the monthly basic salary by a flat rate of 900 euros. Based on a period of 18 months, the increase would be 18 percent for young professionals and 5 percent for captains in the final stage, Lufthansa announced. Regardless of the aircraft type, a career starter would then have a gross annual salary of around EUR 81,000 and a captain in the final stage would have a basic salary of almost EUR 289,000.

In addition to 5.5 percent more money this year, the VC had demanded an automated compensation above inflation from 2023. There would also be a new salary scale and more money for sick days, holidays and training. Over a period of two years, that would mean an additional burden of 900 million euros, Lufthansa said. The VC did not want to comment on these numbers.

"In order to avert labor disputes, Lufthansa must present a significantly improved offer," explained VC tariff boss Marcel Gröls. The official reason for the industrial action is the failed negotiations on a new collective wage agreement from the point of view of the trade union. In the background, there is also a conflict about the corporate strategy.

In the past, VC had guaranteed the number of 325 aircraft that could only be flown by the approximately 5,000 captains and first officers who were subject to the group collective agreement. Lufthansa had terminated this agreement under the impression of the Corona crisis, but was now ready to revive the fleet guarantee. To what extent remained unclear.

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