Deutsche Lufthansa AG pilots will resume strike action Tuesday, almost six months after walkouts over cost cuts were halted as management and unions came together in the wake of a deadly crash at the company’s Germanwings arm.
Pilots flying Airbus Group SE A330s, A340s and A380s and Boeing Co. 747s, as well as all cargo models, will strike from 8 a.m. through midnight, the Vereinigung Cockpit union said in a statement Monday. The action extends a series of 12 walkouts since April 2014, the last of which occurred three days before the March 24 crash in the French Alps.
Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr said last week he’s ready to endure more strikes to force through changes he says will help Lufthansa compete with low-cost carriers in Europe and Gulf rivals on long-haul routes. The walkouts have already wiped about 300 million euros ($334 million) from operating profit, causing him to cut the group’s financial targets twice during his first year in the job
Tomorrow’s action will target inter-continental services that rank as the most lucrative for network airlines — repeating the last strike on March 21, which caused about 74 flights, or the bulk of the long-haul timetable, to be canceled.
Strikes involving such routes can also be harder to recover from, with aircraft left thousands of miles out of position once flying does resume. September is also generally a lucrative month for carriers, with the end of the holiday season coinciding with a surge in business travel.
Vereinigung Cockpit in July offered to extend the retirement age for flight crew to help cut costs, so long as Lufthansa agreed not to move more pilots outside of its main collective bargaining agreement.
That’s not something Spohr wants to accept as he seeks to transfer a chunk of short-haul flights to Lufthansa’s former regional brand Eurowings, which will operate as a discount unit with lower average pay. He has also established a Eurowings arm in Austria — beyond the reach of the German union.
Some 150 people were killed in the Germanwings crash, with investigators blaming the incident on a pilot with mental health issues who deliberately flew his jet into a mountain.
This article was written by Richard Weiss from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.