Three-day Lufthansa pilots' strike to disrupt travel next week
By Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Pilots at Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) will hold a three-day strike next week in a row over retirement conditions, their union said on Friday, bringing more disruption to travelers after a spate of industrial action at German airports.
The pilots' strike, which will run from 2200 GMT on April 1 until 2159 GMT on April 4, is likely to cause the cancellation of hundreds of flights, and will be the third strike to hit Frankfurt airport, Europe's third-largest hub and Lufthansa's home base, in six weeks.
Lufthansa, Germany's largest airline, said it was considering its legal options but had not yet taken a decision on whether to launch action to prevent the strike.
It called on the pilots to return to the negotiating table and said that while it still hoped to reach an agreement, it was working to minimize the impact of the strike for its customers.
"We regret that during April 2-4 we will probably not be able to bring our customers home or to their destination as planned," the airline said in a statement.
The strike will also affect Lufthansa's cargo arm and its low-cost carrier Germanwings.
If it goes ahead as planned, the strike could be the largest faced by Lufthansa, a spokeswoman said. A four-day strike called by pilots in 2010 was halted after the first day. Analyst Juergen Pieper of Metzler estimated next week's three-day stoppage could cost Lufthansa 30-50 million euros ($41-$69 million) in earnings.
The dispute is over so-called 'transition contracts' awarded to pilots retiring before the legal pension age. Lufthansa is also negotiating with the pilots on a pay agreement for the contract period from May 2012. Continued...