Lufthansa pilots extend strike again until Friday for short-haul flights

Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:55pm EST
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By Victoria Bryan

BERLIN (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) pilots in Germany said they would extend strike action that began on Wednesday until Friday, ratcheting up pressure on management in a long-running pay dispute and promising further disruptions for travelers.

The walkout has already grounded 1,800 flights at one of Europe's largest airlines, affecting more than 215,000 passengers.

The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots' union had planned a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday but late on Tuesday said it would be extended to Thursday after two courts rejected attempts by Lufthansa to halt the industrial action.

On Wednesday evening, the union said the walkouts would continue on Friday too, but only on short-haul flights.

"Lufthansa management has shown no sign that it is willing to move and has not provided an offer that could serve as a basis for negotiations," VC board member Joerg Handwerg said.

Lufthansa, led by CEO Carsten Spohr, insists that despite a record profit in 2015, it has no choice but to cut costs to compete with leaner rivals such as Ryanair (RYA.I: Quote) on short-haul routes and Emirates [EMIRA.UL] on long-haul flights.

Shares in the company have lost 12 percent of their value this year, but were steady on Wednesday.

Lufthansa canceled 876 of roughly 3,000 flights scheduled by its group airlines for Wednesday, and scrapped 912 flights for Thursday, in what is the 14th strike in the dispute since early 2014.   Continued...

Passengers walk past an information display during a pilots strike of German airline Lufthansa at  Frankfurt airport, Germany, November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski