Passengers seeking to fly with Lufthansa have been facing only limited disruptions as the German airline’s pilots have resumed industrial action. Their fifth walkout this year is primarily affecting Frankfurt Airport.
German flagship carrier Lufthansa said Tuesday that despite the renewed strike over its pilots’ early retirement scheme it would provide 32 out of 57 long-haul flights from Frankfurt.
The strike started at 0600 GMT and is scheduled to continue until 2100 GMT, but its knock-on effects meant that flights via Frankfurt, Europe’s third largest airport, could be disrupted until early on Wednesday.
The strike followed inconclusive talks over the terms of a retirement scheme between the VC pilots’ union and the management of Lufthansa last week, which were broken off on Thursday.
“Since management is still failing to come up with an offer for a compromise we see ourselves forced to resort to this measure,” VC said in a statement.
The 5,400 pilots employed at Lufthansa, its budget subsidiary Germanwings, and Lufthansa Cargo demand that the airline should keep an existing retirement benefit scheme that allows pilots to retire at the age of 55.
Perks for pilots
The pilots are fighting a plan by Lufthansa management to raise the minimum retirement age, and to involve pilots in the financing of their pensions.
Lufthansa pilots have already staged industrial action four times this year, idling a total of 4,300 flights that left 480,000 passengers stranded.
After the new talks collapsed on Thursday, Lufthansa insisted that it had “signaled its willingness to compromise” and offered to talk about the contentious points.
Like other European carriers, Lufthansa is battling to reduce costs in the face of stiff competition from budget airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair.