Passengers of the German airline Lufthansa have been hit by its second strike this week.
On Thursday, around half of all long-haul flights are going nowhere, as pilots walk out again in defence of their early retirement benefits.
The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, representing about 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, is fighting to safeguard a scheme allowing pilots to retire at the age of 55 and still receive up to 60 percent of their pay before regular pension payments start at 65.
This is the tenth strike at the airline since April, and for many on the receiving end , enough is enough.
“Of course it is unpleasant for customers,” said passenger Joerg Lehr at Frankfurt Airport.
“And then there is the matter of whether it has just gone too far – in what is being demanded by the unions and the impact on passengers. So no, I don’t think it is good.”
Domestic and European routes, as well as flights of Lufthansa’s units like Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and SWISS are not affected.
Strike action has already wiped 160 million euros off Lufthansa’s operating profits, not including this week’s walkouts.
Lufthansa has offered mediation in the hope of resolving the drawn-out dispute in time for the busy Christmas holiday season.
But its moves to expand budget flight operations will do nothing to ease tension with pilots who fear this could mean lower pay and worse conditions.
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