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Canceling Over 3,800 Flights Lufthansa Faces Biggest Pilot Strike In Its History

March 31, 2014 - The German air carrier, Lufthansa is expecting its pilots to go out on strike for three days beginning April 2nd. The strike would be the biggest in Lufthansa's history. The carrier is reporting the strike will force the company to cancel about 3,800 flights affecting cargo and passenger travel. 

The carrier is expecting that cancellations will disrupt travel for 425,000 passengers. At present Lufthansa flies into 17 airports in the United States and the company has cancelled 134 flights to and from those locations during the three-day strike. 

Lufthansa sent out flight cancelations to its passengers by SMS and email to those passengers that have provided their contact details in their reservation or in their Miles & More profile. Those flights that will operate will be flown by the subsidiaries euros, Lufthansa CityLine and Air Dolomiti, as those pilots will not participate in the walkout. 


Pilots employed under its subsidiaries, Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Euro Wings Lufthansa CityLine, Air Dolomiti and the pilots of Brussels Airlines will not participate in the walkout. The carrier reports that wherever it is possible, these companies will be used on routes to and from Germany and larger aircraft will be used in order to get as many rebooked Lufthansa passengers to their destinations. 

On Friday, the union representing the pilots, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) reported that more than 90 percent of its pilots voted in favor of the strike. Vereinigung Cockpit represents about 5,400 Lufthansa pilots. Chief negotiator Thomas von Sturm said "no one of us really wants to strike and we've been negotiating very patiently, but our patience has run out," referring to the pilots.

Lufthansa has called on the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union (VC) to resume joint talks as soon as possible. “We still have four and a half days to avoid further disruptions for our customers, which would occur with the strike that has been announced,” said Dr Bettina Volkens, Chief Officer Human Resources and Legal, Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “We are willing to continue the discussions at any time and have laid the groundwork for negotiations with the new offer for the wage settlement and the offer concerning early retirement from flight service. With the goodwill of everyone involved, we should be able to avoid a strike,” Ms Volkens continued.



Although Lufthansa continues to hope for a negotiated solution, it is working to keep the effects of a strike on its customers to a minimum. “We greatly regret the fact that this strike from 2–4 April may prevent us from bringing our passengers to their destination or back home on time. We will do everything to take care of those affected as well as we possibly can. Wherever possible, we will offer alternative travel options with. At the same time, we are still working to solve the collective bargaining dispute,” Ms Volkens said. 

Lufthansa is the largest airline in Europe, both in terms of overall passenger’s carried and fleet size. It operates services to 18 domestic destinations and 197 international destinations in 78 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Lufthansa is also the parent company for several other airlines such as Swiss International Air Lines and Lufthansa Technik. With over 620 aircraft, it has one of the largest passenger airline fleets in the world when combined with its subsidiaries. In 2012, the entire Lufthansa Group carried over 103 million passengers.

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