Almost 900 flights have been cancelled by Lufthansa after the airline lost a last-ditch legal bid to halt the latest strike by pilots.
The day-long action over pay began at midnight local time, with the German carrier warning that about 100,000 passengers will be affected.
Flights by Lufthansa’s other airlines including Eurowings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, and Brussels Airlines are not affected, the airline said.
The industrial action is part of a long-running pay dispute at Lufthansa.
The airline said that 51 of the 876 grounded flights are long haul services. The airline plans to operate 2,124 out of 3,000 daily flights.
“Lufthansa is doing everything in its power to keep its customers informed and to rebook them to other airlines and other means of transportation wherever possible,” the carrier said.
The pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), has organised 14 strikes since April 2014.
Lufthansa made two legal challenges to halt the strike yesterday.
A Frankfurt labour court first rejected Lufthansa’s application for an injunction. Later in the evening, the Hesse state labour court rejected the airline’s appeal.
Pay talks between the VC union and the German airline broke down earlier this month, and Lufthansa said the union had “consistently rejected the offer” of mediation.
The union is calling for a 3.7% pay rise for 5,400 pilots dating back to 2012.
Lufthansa, which is facing increasing competition from budget rivals, offered a 2.5% increase over the six years until 2019.
“Lufthansa has offered mediation to Vereinigung Cockpit on a number of occasions, in order to resolve the wage dispute with the assistance of a neutral third party,” the airline said,
“VC has consistently rejected the offer. Instead, VC has now announced a strike that will hurt our customers and colleagues most of all.
“VC is ignoring the possibility of mediation and is avoiding its responsibilities as a social partner.”
Meanwhile, a separate dispute with cabin crew at Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary, Eurowings, led it to cancel more than 60 flights on Tuesday.
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