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Lufthansa

Lufthansa hopes German pilots union will resume talks, prevent future strikes

After yet another strike by Lufthansa pilots, the flagship German airline hopes to find a compromise with the pilots union. Flights are expected to operate on time Sunday, though more protests are likely.

A Lufthansa board member has told German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag" that the flagship German airline is looking to end the long-running pay dispute with German pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit.

"We have to talk," Bettina Volkens, the Lufthansa board member in charge of human resources, told the newspaper. "I hope very much that Cockpit finally changes their uncompromising stance."

Volkens added that a compromise "cannot be forced through strikes." Cockpitrejected Lufthansa's latest pay offer on Friday.

Cockpit wants an average annual pay increase of 3.7 percent for 5,400 pilots over a five-year period dating back to 2012 until May 2017. Lufthansa has offered to increase wages by 4.4 percent in two installments, as well as a one-off payment worth 1.8 months' pay.

Flights back to normal Sunday

The pilots' union has been on strike against Lufthansa since Wednesday, leading to nearly 2,800 cancelled flights that have affected more than 350,000 passengers. This is the 14th strike in a dispute that has cost the airline over 450 million euros ($477 million) since the first strike in 2014. Lufthansa said the first two days of the strike this week cost the company 20 million euros ($21.2 million).

Cockpit has said they would not extend their strike into Sunday, but Lufthansa warned Saturday there may still be a few cancelled flights. On Saturday, the airline had to cancel 137 flights, of which 88 were intercontinental journeys.

However, most Lufthansa flights were expected to operate on time on Sunday. The company has asked travelers to check their flight status online at before arriving at the airport.

More protests are likely in the coming week. Cockpit's pilots have, however, promised to announce upcoming strikes 24 hours in advance.

kbd/cmk (AFP, Reuters)

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