Lufthansa to cancel 876 of 3,000 scheduled flights due to pilots' strike

Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa said it would cancel around 900 flights today due to a strike by pilots, causing travel disruption for thousands of passengers as its long-running pay dispute flared  up yet again. 

The carrier would cancel 876 of its roughly 3,000 scheduled flights, ''affecting some 100,000 passengers'', Lufthansa said in a statement.

The action is the union's 14th strike since April 2014.

Though Cockpit had earlier called for a 24-hour stoppage but late yesterday it said that the strike would continue into Thursday for both long and short-haul flights leaving Germany.

Meanwhile a separate walkout by cabin crew at Lufthansa's low-cost airline Eurowings had led to the cancellation of over 60 flights at airports in Hamburg and Düsseldorf yesterday.

The industrial action had been called by Germany's biggest services union Verdi over a pay and working conditions dispute.

The Lufthansa pilots are demanding a pay hike of average of 3.66 per cent per year, retroactive for the past five years.

According to the union, pilots had endured a wage freeze over that time and suffered a ''significant loss of purchasing power'' due to inflation, while Lufthansa had made billions in profits.

Lufthansa expressed "complete incomprehension" at the decision of Cockpit to extend the strike and said it would make preparations to deal with the Thursday walkout.

The strike had however, not affected other Lufthansa group airlines such as Eurowings,  Swiss and Austrian Airlines.

According to commentators, the strike comes as Lufthansa restructures to meet increasing competition from Gulf airlines and European budget carriers.

According to Cockpit, the carrier had been posting "very good numbers for years," but its pilots haven't seen any consequent increase in pay.