* Lufthansa cancels 3,800 flights for Apr 2-4
* Pilots to walk out in row over retirement conditions
* Lufthansa: Strike will cost it tens of millions of euros
(Adds details from Lufthansa)
FRANKFURT, March 31 Lufthansa 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
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
Lufthansa said on Monday the strike would cost it tens of
millions of euros just for its Lufthansa and Germanwings
"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
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 ($66 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.
($1 = 0.7271 Euros)
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen; Editing by
Arno Schuetze and Mark Potter)