Lufthansa pilots consider 2nd strike

<p>Lufthansa pilots are calling for a new strike on Thursday (March 19th).</p>

Pilots of German airline Lufthansa are pondering whether to stage a second strike later in the week.

Flight crews are already staging industrial action today (March 18th), but are calling for it to be extended to Thursday. The strike has already seriously hindered Lufthansa's operations with 750 flights cancelled affecting 80,000 passengers. However, the airline confirmed that subsidiaries Germanwings and Eurowings will not be impacted by the action.

The pilots union, Vereinigung Cockpit, hopes the strikes put pressure on the Lufthansa management team to review its stance on the retirement benefits offered to pilots. The airline wants to abandon a programme which allows pilots to retire at the age of 55 and receive 60 per cent of their pay until they reach the statutory retirement age of 65.

This has sparked uproar among Vereinigung Cockpit members with the union accusing Lufthansa of offering younger pilots less attractive working conditions. These two factors, it says, has forced pilots to go on strike. It is just one of a series of strikes that significantly impacted the airline in recent years, which cost the operator €232 million (£165 million) last year.

The announcement resulted in a drop of Lufthansa's share price which fell 1.91 per cent as of 09:28 GMT today.

Strikes hurting airlines

Lufthansa's latest pilots strike is just one in a long line of similar incidents happening to airlines across Europe. While the German flag carrier is counting the cost of more industrial action, other companies, namely Air France-KLM, have also experienced issues of this ilk in the past.

In late 2014, the French-Dutch partnership lost €500 million in revenue after its pilots went on strike over plans to expand Air France's low-cost business Transavia. The union was unhappy with the lower rate of pay being offered by the budget airline compared to the traditional Air France operation.

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