Lufthansa says pilot strikes costing ‘millions’

Source:Reuters Published: 2016/11/30 23:18:40

Strikes by German pilots are costing carrier Lufthansa as much as 15 million euros ($15.98 million) a day, a spokesman said Wednesday.

A further 890 flights were cancelled on Wednesday, with the walkout affecting short and long-haul flights from Germany.

The Lufthansa spokesman said that the German airline was considering comments by the Vereingiung Cockpit (VC) union that it would be willing to resume talks if a pay increase of about 5 percent was used as a basis for negotiations.

Lufthansa has so far offered to increase pilots' pay by 4.4 percent in two installments and make a one-off payment worth 1.8 months' pay.

VC wants an average annual pay rise of 3.7 percent for 5,400 pilots over a five-year period backdated to 2012.

The strike is the 15th since early 2014 and risks affecting bookings at the carrier, especially if the dispute drags on.

Walkouts in 2015 by pilots and cabin crew affected 7,748 flights, costing Lufthansa 231 million euros in lost profit, with around 108 million euros of that coming from lost advance bookings.

Including last week's four-day walkout, Lufthansa has cancelled 4,500 flights so far this year due to strikes, and analysts have said the carrier's 2016 profit target could be at risk.

Travel management company Carlson Wagonlit said, however, it had seen only a 0.1 percent drop in Lufthansa bookings compared with this time last year.

"I think airline strikes have a short-term effect on people, so it only influences their booking decision if they are travelling again imminently," Paul Dobson, a senior program manager at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, said in an e-mailed comment to Reuters.


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