Lufthansa cancels 78 flights due to strike

Germany's largest airline, Lufthansa, will cancel long-distance flights Wednesday for the first time since cabin crews and ground personnel walked out on strike earlier this week, a spokeswoman said.

Lufthansa cancels 78 flights due to strike
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa plans to cancel 78 flights in all, including four to Calcutta, Calgary, Chicago and New York.

On Tuesday, the German flag carrier grounded 70 flights, roughly three percent of all services, owing mainly to the lack of maintenance technicians at its major German airports.

The start of the strike by ground personnel Monday caused few disruptions in the busy holiday season due to precautionary measures taken by Lufthansa. Service sector union Verdi has estimated the strike would cost Lufthansa €5 million ($7.9 million) a day. Verdi wants a 9.8 percent pay hike over a year for around 50,000 workers, while Lufthansa has offered 6.7 percent over 21 months.

Airline maintains upbeat outlook

Lufthansa on Tuesday afternoon reported a first-half net profit of €402 million ($634 million) and maintained an upbeat outlook for the full year.

The carrier had recorded net profit of €992 million in the same period a year earlier but that included exceptional gains such as the sale of a stake in the travel group Thomas Cook for €503 million, a statement said.

Operating profit leapt by 45 percent to €705 million in the first six months of 2008, on sales which gained 19.8 percent to €12.1 billion, the airline said.

“This reflects the altogether stable operating performance and an earnings contribution of €157 million from the fully consolidated SWISS,” a carrier that Lufthansa bought last year.

“The executive board continues to expect that for the full year 2008 it will follow up on last year’s operating result,” which came to €1.38 billion, the statement said.

Lufthansa acknowledged however that its outlook could be altered by “a renewed and lasting increase in fuel prices, a sustained decline in the world economy and the as yet unforeseeable effects of the strike actions in the course of ongoing wage negotiations.”