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Lufthansa pilots extend latest pay strike until Saturday


Germany

Lufthansa pilots extend latest pay strike until Saturday

Lufthansa pilots in Germany have said they will extend strike action again until Saturday, this time targeting long-haul flights in a long-running pay dispute.

It follows a previous announcement continuing the stoppage through Friday which is due to affect short and medium-haul flights.

The airline has already grounded nearly 1,800 flights since the strike began on Wednesday. It had originally been planned as a 24-hour walkout but has been extended three times.

Travel plans for more than 300,000 passengers have been disrupted. A quarter of Lufthansa’s schedule for short and medium-haul flights are due to be cancelled on Friday, some 830 in total.

The main union representing pilots has accused Lufthansa of exaggerating a warning about the carrier’s future if pilots’ wages are raised.

A company board member said the first two days of strike action had cost the airline about 20 million euros.

Lufthansa insists that despite a record profit in 2015, it has no choice but to cut costs to compete with rivals such as Ryanair on short-haul flights and Emirates on long-haul.

This is the pilots’ 14th walkout in under three years. The union wants a 3.7 percent pay rise over five years from 2012; Lufthansa has offered 2.5 percent over a six-year period until 2019.

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