Raw: Pilot Strike Grounds Major European Airline


Lufthansa cancels 900 flights on first day of a pilots' strike. The carrier is expected to cancel about 3,800 flights through Friday, affecting nearly half a million passengers. (April 2)


AP Television - Clients Only

Frankfurt, Germany 2 April, 2014

1. Various of pilots marching to rally

2. Rally of striking pilots

3. Pan down from Lufthansa headquarters to show strikign pilots

AP Television - Clients Only

Berlin, Germany 2 April, 2014

4. Wide view of empty ticket counter

5. Mid view of empty ticket machines

6. Close view of Lufthansa logo

7. Flight board with "cancel"

AP Television - Clients Only

Frankfurt, Germany 2 April, 2014

8. Wide of airport

9. Plane sitting at the gate

10. Interior of airport with passengers standing around

11. Passengers working ticket counters

12. Flight board

13. Various of ticket agents at ticket counters


Lufthansa canceled almost 900 domestic and intercontinental flights on Wednesday, after the pilots' union started a three-day strike in a wage dispute with Germany's largest airline.

The carrier expects to cancel about 3,800 flights through Friday, affecting more than 425,000 passengers, airline spokeswoman Barbara Schaedler said.

Lufthansa Cargo and its budget airline Germanwings were also affected by the strike, which the company estimates will cost it "tens of millions" of euros (dollars).

The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit announced the strike in advance, giving Lufthansa time to prepare by canceling flights and offering passengers alternative travel arrangements.

Some were rebooked on trains or different airlines, Schaedler said.

"We sent out more than 200,000 text messages to inform our customers about the upcoming strike and also increased our capacities at our call centers to help passengers rebook their trips," a Lufthansa spokesperson said.

As a result, Lufthansa terminals in Frankfurt and Munich, the company's hubs in Germany, were mostly empty.

One of the main demands by the pilots is that Lufthansa continue to provide a transition payment for those who want to retire early at age 55. The airline wants to cut those payments.

The pilots are also asking for a salary increase of 10 percent.

The carrier has been trying to cut costs amid tough competition from European budget carriers and aggressively expanding government-owned Gulf airlines.

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