Lufthansa pilots' strike grounds 900 flights

The latest strike by Lufthansa pilots grounded almost 900 flights today and German companies and other Lufthansa staff called for ending the protests which were costing the airline €10-15 million a day.

After staging a four-day strike last week pilots resumed their protest over pay that dated back to early 2014 on Tuesday, which saw the number of canceled flights in the latest round of walkouts at about 4,500. (See: Lufthansa pilots to strike work again tomorrow)

Siemens, a major corporate customer of the carrier  said the strikes were harming the German economy and the country's image and warned Lufthansa that it needed to become more reliable.

"As a major customer we have to consider how we can deal with this on a long-term basis," Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser told German daily Bild, adding that the pilots should resume talks.

According to analysts, the walkouts were a good  opportunity for rivals such as Ryanair and easyJet to gain market share and could result in Lufthansa missing its 2016 profit target. The carrier's shares dropped 2.7 per cent today.

According to commentators, there could be movement in the dispute after the union said it was willing to compromise. A Lufthansa spokesman had said the airline was considering comments by VC that it would resume talks if a pay increase of about 5 per  cent were used as a basis for negotiations.

Lufthansa said the walkout, which flight crew extended to long-haul flights after Tuesday's action affected only short-haul services, had grounded some 98,000 passengers.

Around 4,461 flights had been cancelled in the six days of strikes since last Wednesday, according to Lufthansa.

Directors and pilots had failed to agree on a wage increase, and Lufthansa's offer of a mediation process was rejected outright by pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit.

Other airlines in group including Eurowings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines, continue to operate normally.