Pilot union Cockpit called a 36-hour strike for CityLine's more than 700 pilots in an effort to increase pressure on Lufthasa in ongoing wage negotiations. Pilots walked off the job at midnight Thursday and will stay on the picket lines until Friday noon.
The limited strike will keep some 140 flights on the ground Friday, according to a Lufthansa spokesman. CityLine flies exclusively European routes, but predominately ones that aren't regularly serviced. Lufthansa asks passengers to call 0800-850 60 70 or look at the airline's website www.lufthansa.com for more information.
Cockpit said it was forced to call the new strike, because Lufthansa has refused to offer an acceptable wage deal to CityLine pilots. The airline wants to pay the pilots between 5.5 and 6.5 percent more over an 18 to 24-month period, but Cockpit has rejected that as a basis for new negotiations.
Lufthansa CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber called on the pilots to return to the negotiating table before the strike hurt the airline's competitiveness. He told newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that CityLine pilots needed to compare their wages with other regional airlines.
“They already earn mostly 20 to 25 percent more than comparable pilots on regional routes,” he said, adding that the crisis commercial aviation was currently going through should be a wake up call.
The labour dispute is separate from the five-day strike last week by ground and flight crew personnel that caused Lufthansa to cancel hundreds of flights. Although the airline came to an agreement with trade union Verdi to end that strike, service is still not completely back to normal due to the contingency plan Lufthansa implemented.