Lufthansa says 75% flights to go ahead despite strike

19th March 2015, Comments 0 comments

German airline Lufthansa hopes to be able to operate around 75 percent of flights on Friday, despite a third consecutive day of strikes by its pilots, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

"We're assuming for the moment that the number of flights that can take off and land tomorrow will be of the same magnitude as on Wednesday," the spokeswoman said.

"We're counting on around three quarters of all flights in the entire Lufthansa group -- including Swiss, Austrian and Germanwings -- going ahead," she told AFP.

The carrier was working "flat out" to compile a flight timetable for Friday and was already starting to publish a list of cancelled flights on its website, the spokeswoman added.

The pilots' union Cockpit had initially called for 24-hour walkout on Wednesday, but subsequently extended the industrial action, first to Thursday and then to Friday.

On Wednesday, the stoppages had targeted short- and medium-haul services.

But long-haul flights were grounded on Thursday. And Cockpit said it would target short- and medium haul flights again on Friday.

On Wednesday, some 750 flights were grounded affecting 80,000 passengers.

On Thursday, 84 long-haul flights out of a total 153 taking off from Germany were hit, grounding 18,000 passengers.

The walkout is the twelfth bout of strike action to hit the German airline since last April over management plans to change the pilots' transitional pension arrangements.

The dispute hinges on plans by Lufthansa to scrap an arrangement under which pilots can retire at 55 and receive up to 60 percent of their pay until they reach the statutory retirement age of 65.

Pilots are also concerned about Lufthansa's aim to further develop its low-cost activities as it faces growing competition.

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© 2015 AFP

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