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LH cancels 3,800 flights due to pilot strike

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LH cancels 3,800 flights due to pilot strike

Old 1st Apr 2014, 09:24
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LH cancels 3,800 flights due to pilot strike

Lufthansa cancels 3,800 flights due to pilot strike | Reuters

" Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) has cancelled 3,800 flights for April 2-4, or virtually all of its operations, due to a planned walkout by pilots, in what would be one of the biggest strikes ever to hit the German airline.

Vereiningung Cockpit, the union representing most of Lufthansa's 5,400 pilots, last week said it was calling for a three day strike from April 2 over plans by Germany's largest airline to scrap an early retirement deal.

Although Lufthansa had improved its offer, the pilots said it wasn't enough as it didn't apply to pilots joining after 2014.

The Lufthansa units affected by the strikes would normally operate around 4,300 flights over the three days, but the walkout means it will be able to operate just 500 short and long-haul flights during the three-day period, it said.

The strike affects flights run by its Lufthansa brand as well as its Germanwings low-cost unit, and it has also cancelled 23 out of a planned 31 Lufthansa Cargo flights for the strike period.

Lufthansa said on Monday the strike would cost it tens of millions of euros just for its Lufthansa and Germanwings passenger operations.

"A large amount of damage has been done just by the announcement of the strike, because passengers have already changed their bookings and cargo customers have switched to other airlines to transport their goods," Lufthansa said in a statement.

Back in 2010, Lufthansa pilots called a four-day strike over cost cuts. Although the action was called off after one day, it still resulted in the cancellation of around 2,000 flights and cost Lufthansa 48 million euros (39 million) in lost revenues.

Analysts now estimate that a full three-day strike could cost the airline 30-50 million euros in profit.

Lufthansa said it would rebook customers onto other airlines or trains. Its units Swiss, Austrian, Eurowings, CityLine, Air Dolomiti, plus partner Brussels Airlines, would use larger aircraft on routes to and from Germany where possible.

A Lufthansa spokesman said that while the group was still considering the possibility of legal action, the damage had already been done."

The main reason is, that LH pilots want to keep their early retirement scheme allowing them to retire with 55 but not later than with 60 getting about 50% of their salary until the final retirement.

LH want to change that due to a recent EU Court ruling, allowing pilots to fly until the age of 65 - provided they are fit to fly, of course.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 11:58
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They now manage to be on strike more often than Air France
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 12:25
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Good luck to them...at least they aren't endangering everyone by flying until 65.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 12:45
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I always love this calculation of losses...
LH loses 48 M on thre days, this obviously means they make 5.8 G (365*48M/3) every year.
Did I misunderstand Mathematics, or do the LH people simply put rhetoric pressure on the pilots, having fully valid issues?
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 14:00
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Nobody will be endangered because a pilot is 65. There are some conditions to fulfil.
One is, that there will be no complete crew above 60. They have their medical as well. So where do you see a passenger endangered, if a pilot in the age of 65 is at the flight deck?

Last edited by ChiefT; 1st Apr 2014 at 16:54.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 14:58
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Originally Posted by Volume View Post
I always love this calculation of losses...
LH loses 48 M on three days, this obviously means they make 5.8 G (365*48M/3) every year.
Did I misunderstand Mathematics, or do the LH people simply put rhetoric pressure on the pilots, having fully valid issues?
You misunderstand mathematics.

Lufthansa don't take 48M off its passengers in a normal three days and move them about at no cost; as we surely all understand, airlines are very much a matter of margins; the costs are huge, the revenue is huge, the difference is the profit or loss. And when the revenue goes away, many of the costs don't.

At its most basic, 48M is the lost revenue minus the costs avoided - unpaid wages for striking pilots and fuel not burnt.

For example if the normal expected revenue without the strike was 90M, the normal expected cost of operation for that period was 89M, then normal profit for the three days would be 1M and annual profit would be about 122M per year.

If the cost of fuel and pilot's wages saved was 42M, but the lost revenue was 90M, then instead of making 90M-89M = +1M, they'll save 42M but lose 90M, making 42M-90M = -48M.

A 48M loss, and a huge hole in the annual profit.

And that's with no allowance at all for damage to the reputation of the business or for the people who planned to fly Lufthansa one way during the strike and the opposite direction before or afterwards, who are forced by an industry that largely runs on return tickets to fly both legs with someone else.

I am reluctant to believe that this level of mathematics or accounting is beyond anyone who is capable of obtaining a pilots licence.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 15:12
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It's not difficult but one clearly needs the time to work it all out. Time that is not readily available for most people.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 15:37
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Slight thread drift, but while we're talking about Lufthansa....

For quite a few years, I've been trying to point out here on PPRuNe the remarkable ease with which Lufthansa has been able to overcome any EU competition concerns when they have bought or invested in various carriers - Swiss, Austrian, BMI, SN Brussels, Germanwings, et al....Certainly when compared to the hoops that BA has had to jump through over the years, and also compared to the EU's outright opposition to Government funding for the likes of Alitalia and Malev while turning a blind eye to the 'Regional Incentives' picked up in the millions by Ryanair and some other LoCos....

By amazing coincidence, just as Lufthansa has a slight problem on their horizon, the EU has almost simultaneously announced that it is to investigate two recent airline deals -

Etihad's investment in Air Berlin - which, again, by complete coincidence just happens to be Lufthansa's only serious competitor in the German market....

Delta's investment in Virgin - which the EU seemed to ignore for years when the same investment was in the hands of Lufthansa's Asian partner, but is now to be retrospectively investigated just a year or so after the EU originally gave the go-ahead for Delta to purchase Singapore's holding in Virgin....

Now I happen to be seriously concerned about the involvement of these Government backed ME carriers outside of their own geography, and the damage they have inflicted on many US and European legacy carriers - enough to have made me question on here, in the past, the EU's lack of interest in ensuring a level playing field for European carriers....It always seemed to me to be stupid that the EU has contributed to the troubles at Olympic, Alitalia, and effectively closed Malev, by specifically denying the ability of EU governments to support their own nations' airlines with their own citizens' taxes whilst at the same time providing an open door for these ME state backed carriers....

But as soon as Lufthansa feels it might be disadvantaged by another mega carrier investing in one of its major competitors, the EU springs into action....And then reopens its file on the Delta / Virgin deal....

Coincidence, I'm sure....
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 16:47
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blind pew
Good luck to them...at least they aren't endangering everyone by flying until 65.
Looks like the change to age 65 resulted in the best safety record in the history of the airline industry.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 19:13
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LH is going on strike for better pay and working conditions. And instead of supporting them, ppruners mock them. These days, it appears, our goal is working for Mickey Mouse Airlines while lowballing everybody else.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 21:36
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Its units Swiss, Austrian, Eurowings, CityLine, Air Dolomiti, plus partner Brussels Airlines, would use larger aircraft on routes to and from Germany where possible.
I wonder what the unions of said companies will say about taking over some of LH's product
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 23:47
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I am 54 and intend to enjoy commercial flying until I am 65. I do not accept it is a 'young man's game' - it is a game for anyone who has the heart to still do it. I have no ex-wives, but I do love flying and will do it as long as I am able.

Regarding the decision to strike by Lufthansa pilots, I am sure they have their reasons. Past experience suggests that legacy carriers enjoy a massive level of support from their passengers that we in the loco world would simply never have. Nonetheless, this cannot be good news and will not be seen as that by the people in charge. I have always seen this type of thing as an absolute last resort, but that view is not shared. Even if you are Lufthansa you only get a certain amount of slack from your loyal customers. There is not shortage of companies like our own champing at the bit to take their customers. We will have to see who the winners and losers are.
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 00:02
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Blind Pew

Talk about a thread drift.

I'm nearly 62 and it is I who is awake at 10,000 ft in the climb on a 6 hour night sector leaving at 01:00 hrs. (F/O Snzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) This is after stating that if you are tired in the cruise please tell me and we will have controlled naps. Happened twice in the last two years.

Told to take up the hold over the airport VOR. The senior and young F/O repeatedly tries to enter in the FMC (its not sequenced in the legs), I have a brief go (failed) so say just do it manually (I meant twiddle the heading nob). At this point he just said to me "you have control" - and this was on exact direct entry to the hold!

Countless other stories, most regarding basic handling problems which should have been sorted out before the F/O's reached 3000 hors.

At 62 I do believe I am still doing the public a service. Whatever, they are still paying me for it so I must suppose they believe they are getting some value.

It's a young mans game and not for old [email protected] like me.
I would have to say that you have to make the call on that personally - as you obviously have done. However do not generalise in age or anything else - you may be surprised just by what some other people are capable of.
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 01:31
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Good luck guys....bravo for having the balls to strike!
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 06:03
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Ditto what Deefer Dog said. Good luck.
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 08:27
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It is a real shame that as pilots we only have the blunt instrument of industrial action/strike when negotiations fail. It does nothing for our image with the general public, who have no understanding that pilots (as long term employees and more than any other mustering in an airline) have a vested interest in the health and wealth of the airline and that the decision to strike is always an absolutely last resort.

Good luck LH colleagues!
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 08:45
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Well, the instrument of strike is not really blunt. A pilot strike can put some real pressure on an employer, and an angry public certainly helps to increase this pressure.
Some uneducated people that don't (want to) understand what pilots are fighting for are what I would consider collateral damage.
Of course, the press tries to whip it up against the oh-so-overpaid-get-tons-of-money-for-lazily-pushing-some-buttons pilots and tries to stir anti-pilot sentiments, but a lot of sensible and informed folks do get the pilots' points.

Compared to strikes e. g. in the IT sector (which I haven't heard about yet, but not all is going well there either with all that outsourcing to Asia and cost cutting), pilots are in a much better position to lend weight to their issues.
If IT guys went on strike, well ... hardly any employer would seriously care.
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 08:58
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There are no high minded principles involved in this dispute just a desire to maintain a rather privileged situation by the pilots and a desire to eliminate it by the company. That being said this post does not represent any judgement on who is correct in this dispute.
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 10:08
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As long as Lufthansa's customers are happy to continue paying the higher airfares needed to support the pilots generous packages, the company remains profitable and isn't begging for taxpayer handouts then I can see no problem.

It's the old legacy airlines which cling to outdated working practices, pay the staff more than they are worth and expect government handouts to keep it all going that are the problem.

A quality service requires better staff who expect to be paid more. If the customer is prepared to pay extra to fly Lufthansa instead of Ryanair then fair enough.
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 10:26
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As long as Lufthansa's customers are happy to continue paying the higher airfares needed to support the pilots generous packages, the company remains profitable and isn't begging for taxpayer handouts then I can see no problem.
I also doubt the cost of LH pilot labour amounts to more than a few percentage points of LH's total costs. As usual we pilots overestimate our cost to the operation and underestimate our value, almost as if deep down we felt we shouldn't be paid as much as we are for a job we often love. Typically, we would rather drag down colleagues with better Terms and Conditions to our level, rather than aspire to raise our package to their level.

I say good luck to our LH colleagues.
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