Pilots at Lufthansa the German airline announced they would extend a strike until Friday that already has hit thousands of passengers and had hundreds of flights cancelled. The pilots strike is over a new retirement plan the airline has.
Just over 50% of the scheduled 1,400 flights for the carrier including domestic and European to and from Munich and Frankfurt were cancelled Wednesday, which effected nearly 80,000 passengers said the a spokesperson from the German airline.
The stoppage of one-day that was originally planned will continue all day Thursday, when it will move to target the cargo and long haul services. The pilots union announced late Wednesday that it would extend the strike to Friday for both medium- and short-haul flights.
The current pilot walkout is the twelfth one to hit the airline since April of 2014 over the plans by management to change the transitional pension agreements for the pilots.
Lufthansa subsidiary flights at Eurowings, Germanwings, Austrian and Swiss Airlines were not affected by the strike.
A spokesperson for Lufthansa said that the German airline sought to warn all passengers ahead of Wednesday’s strike through email and text messages.
At the Munich and Frankfurt airports, no reports were heard of large number of stranded passengers Wednesday, said DPA the national news agency.
Lufthansa criticized the latest strike as incomprehensible saying it expected that 42 of 85 flights scheduled on Thursday to leave Germany would be cancelled, but that no cargo services had yet been cancelled.
The long haul services were expected to start again on Friday, said the airline.
The airline announced earlier that its medium- and short-haul flights would be back to their normal hours starting on Thursday. However, the company announced that it had spoken with other airlines in their group to help cover certain routes.
The dispute is over plans that Lufthansa has to end its arrangement that pilots are able to retire when 55 and received as much as 60% of their pay until turning 65, which is the statutory age of retirement.
Pilots are concerned as well over the goal of Lufthansa to develop further its low-cost idea is it starts facing expanding competition.