Lufthansa pilots extend strike until Saturday for long-haul flights
By Peter Maushagen
FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) pilots in Germany said they will extend strike action until Saturday and target long-haul flights, further raising pressure on management in a long-running pay dispute.
One of Europe's biggest airlines, Lufthansa has already grounded nearly 1,800 flights since pilots represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union went on strike on Wednesday, disrupting travel plans for more than 315,000 passengers.
The strike had originally been planned as a 24-hour walkout but has now been extended three times.
Lufthansa said earlier on Thursday that it will scrap 830 short- and medium-haul flights on Friday, just over a quarter of its schedule, hitting more than 100,000 travelers.
Most long-haul flights will be unaffected on Friday, it said.
On Saturday, however, all long-haul flights leaving Germany until midnight will be affected, VC announced, without being more specific.
In a statement released after trading hours, VC said comments by Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr that the carrier's future would be on the line if pilots' wages were raised "amount to a completely exaggerated dramatization."
Harry Hohmeister, a Lufthansa board member, said cancellations for the first two days of strike action had cost the airline about 20 million euros ($21 million) and customers were making fewer bookings. Continued...