Pilot strike forces Lufthansa to cancel 800 flights

STORY: Pilots at Lufthansa walked out on Friday, forcing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights and leave holidaymakers stranded.

Labour union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said on Wednesday (August 31) that the latest round of pay talks with Lufthansa had failed.

The union is demanding a 5.5% pay rise for over 5,000 pilots and automatic inflation compensation thereafter.

Lufthansa has offered a $900 (900 euros) increase in basic pay per month in two stages.

It says that would result in more than 18% higher pay for entry-level jobs and 5% more for senior positions.

The union’s demands come amid soaring energy and food prices – with German inflation rising to its highest level in almost 50 years.

Strikes and staff shortages have already forced airlines, including Lufthansa, to cancel thousands of flights this summer.

Friday’s 24-hour walkout has grounded 800 flights and affected 130,000 travellers.

Passenger Liane Dickson was due to fly to Amsterdam from Johannesburg via Frankfurt - but the second leg of her flight was canceled before she left South Africa.

"We have no email to say why it happened, what we should do next. At Johannesburg airport yesterday it was chaos because people didn’t know should they check in their luggage to Amsterdam or to Frankfurt and what will happen next.”

Disruption has also ensued at New Delhi airport, as passengers due to leave for Germany via Lufthansa flights scrabble for alternatives.

Last month, Lufthansa's management reached a pay deal with ground staff, after a strike resulted in 1,000 flights being cancelled.