[UPDATED] Lufthansa’s Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union has announced its fifth strike over transition payments for early retirees. All long-haul flights will be canceled between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
According to the union, 70 to 80 long-haul flights should be affected, including flights using Airbus A380s, Boeing 747-400/8Is, A330s and A340-300/600s.
Lufthansa said it has canceled 25 long-haul flights from Frankfurt for Tuesday. A total of 57 intercontinental flights were originally scheduled from Frankfurt Tuesday and 32 of those are planned to depart. Of those 32 flights, 26 will be flown by volunteer pilots, two others will depart earlier and four have been deferred to Wednesday.
The Lufthansa hub in Munich will not be impacted by the strike: Flights to/from Düsseldorf and short-haul flights to/from Frankfurt will also operate as scheduled. Flights operated by Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, SWISS and Air Dolomiti will not be affected, according to a Lufthansa statement.
“Even if we manage under these difficult conditions to get more than half our scheduled long-haul flights from Frankfurt off the ground with volunteer crews tomorrow [Tuesday], the walkout will again severely damage our reputation and erode confidence in our airline’s reliability,” Lufthansa German Airlines Board member Kay Kratky said. “The VC union’s repeated resort to strike action will damage Lufthansa with unforeseeable consequences for all 120,000 employees, including the pilots.”
This is the fifth strike action within four weeks to hit Lufthansa.
On Sept. 15, VC called off an eight-hour strike. On Sept. 5, Lufthansa pilots held a six-hour strike at Frankfurt, disrupting more than 200 flights and affecting 25,000 passengers. On Sept. 10, VC pilots held an eight-hour strike at Munich Airport, which forced Lufthansa to cancel 140 flights. A three-day pilot strike in early April cost Lufthansa €45 million ($60 million).
On Aug. 29, Lufthansa low-cost carrier subsidiary Germanwings had to cancel 116 out of 164 flights last week due to a strike over transitional benefits. The strike affected 15,000 passengers.
All five strike actions have canceled a total of 4,300 flights and affected 480,000 passengers.