Lufthansa prepares new offer of pilots to avert two-day strike

Deutsche Lufthansa AG said it was preparing an improved offer for pilots threatening a two-day strike from midnight in a last-ditch effort to reach a deal and stave off crippling disruptions at its main airports.

The VC pilots union said its members would strike after midnight tonight until just before midnight on September 8th. More strikes would add to the roughly 8,000 flights that Lufthansa has already canceled during the lucrative summer travel season. Cargo plane pilots are planning another day of strike, the union said.

Lufthansa said it would hold talks with the union on Tuesday and make a better offer to reach an agreement, warning of the “massive” impact on its flight schedule should the strike go ahead. The airline avoided a second round of strikes by its ground crew union earlier this summer by improving its pay offer.

“We will do everything we can to be successful with an improved offer even under time pressure,” said Michael Niggemann, the Lufthansa board member responsible for labor issues. The union said it needed a “serious offer” to avert the strike.

Lufthansa shares were trading up 0.49% as of 09:40 in Frankfurt. The company’s stock is down about 4% year-to-date.

Late last month, the union – which represents some 9,600 members – voted overwhelmingly to strike. Lufthansa pilots are demanding wage increases to offset the nearly double-digit rise in consumer prices. A ground staff strike caused the airline to cancel hundreds of flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs just last week.

The European airline industry has been plagued by chaotic operations in recent months, partly due to a lack of ground staff in areas from security to baggage handling and as staff are pushing for higher wages to cope with the rising cost of living.

Travel demand has returned as people returned to business trips and holidays after being stuck in lockdowns for almost two years, pandemic control measures that brought Lufthansa to the brink of bankruptcy in 2020 and left it with billions of dollars in debt.

In a bid to ease the airline’s mountain of debt, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has pledged to increase the airline’s profit margin to at least 8% by 2024. Disputes with employee representatives and concessions over pay suggest that Spohr may struggle to meet those goals while trying to balance need for more staff with cost cutting. Lufthansa prepares new offer of pilots to avert two-day strike

Fry Electronics Team

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