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Lufthansa to cancel ‘800 flights’ as pilots plan to commence strike tomorrow

Lufthansa, Germany’s flagship carrier, says it will cancel almost all passenger and cargo flights over plans by pilots to commence a day-long strike tomorrow. 

The move will affect many travellers returning at the end of the summer vacation.

In a statement on Thursday, the airline said it would be cancelling flights from its two biggest hubs, Frankfurt and Munich. 

“We hope to get back to negotiations as soon as possible,” a Lufthansa spokesperson said. 

“However, we cannot bear the cost increases associated with VC’s demands either.” 

The airline said the strike would affect about 800 flights, but budget carrier, Eurowings, would not be affected.

On Wednesday, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), a union representing Lufthansa pilots, said they would stage a walk-out after demands for a pay increase were rejected by management.

VC is demanding a 5.5 percent pay rise this year for its more than 5,000 pilots and an automatic above-inflation increase in 2023. 

The pilots are also seeking a new pay and holiday structure that the airline said would increase its staffing costs by about 40 percent, or about £900 million over two years.

“We have not received a sufficient offer today either. This is sobering and a missed opportunity,” Matthias Baier, spokesperson, VC, said. 

The union, on Thursday, accused Lufthansa of failing to improve on their previous offers, leaving pilots with no choice but to go on strike to press their demands.

In July, ground staff at Lufthansa embarked on a strike over pay, which led to the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights. 

Earlier this month, Lufthansa’s management said it reached a pay deal with the ground staff, averting further industrial action.

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