Lufthansa cancels half of long-haul and cargo flights Saturday due to pilots' strike

FRANKFURT (AFP) - German airline Lufthansa said Friday it has cancelled around half of all long-haul and cargo flights on Saturday as its pilots stage a walkout for the fourth consecutive day.

Lufthansa said in a statement that it had grounded 74 out of a total 160 inter-continental flights scheduled for Saturday, affecting an estimated 20,000 passengers.

And around 60 per cent of Lufthansa Cargo flights would also be hit.

Originally, the pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit had called for a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday, but subsequently extended the industrial action over four days.

The stoppages Wednesday had targeted short- and medium-haul services.

Long-haul and cargo flights were grounded on Thursday and then short- and medium-haul flights again on Friday.

In all, around 220,000 passengers have been hit by the four days of walkouts, Lufthansa calculated.

It is the 12th - and now longest - stoppage since the pilots began their industrial action last April.

The dispute hinges on plans by Lufthansa to scrap an arrangement under which pilots can retire at 55 and receive up to 60 per cent of their pay until they reach the statutory retirement age of 65.

Pilots are also concerned about Lufthansa's aim to further develop its low-cost activities as it faces growing competition.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.