Lufthansa pilots have started a new strike (first one since the March before the Germanwings crash) and it will last for two days this time.
The long-haul pilots are striking on Tuesday and the medium/short-haul ones on Wednesday for maximum travel chaos. The airline tries to operate half of its long-haul flights on Tuesday.
Germany’s classic airline said it would still run 90 intercontinental flights and 7 cargo flights on Tuesday using volunteer crews after the union declared the breakdown of talks focused on cost-cutting efforts.
The strike by Cockpit (VC), which represents some 5,000 pilots with Lufthansa and its subsidiary Germanwings, is the 13th such work stoppage in the past 18 months. Its last strike was in March, shortly before the Germanwings disaster in France.
Cockpit said short and medium-range flights from Germany would be subjected to strike action on Wednesday.
Airline board member responsible for personnel Bettina Volkens said Lufthansa could only apologize to passengers, including families with intended flights home at the end of school vacations in Germany’s southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
This spat between Lufthansa and its pilot union was centered around the retirement plans for new hires, but has now extended to include plans to move one airframe per month from Germanwings subsidiary to Eurowings in Austria.
Despite the strike, the airline is required to rebook affected passengers to other airlines and to provide care (hotel accommodations & meals). The rebooking can be done to airlines of Lufthansa Group (Swiss, Austrian and Brussels) or Star Alliance. The key is what is the most convenient for the affected passenger. Know your rights!
Although the strike only lasts for two days, the effect on long-haul destinations will surely spread to Wednesday and Thursday as well.
We all certainly hope that the cockpit union and the Lufthansa management could come up with an agreement acceptable for both parties. These never ending strikes won’t build confidence booking Lufthansa flights.