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No sign of take off as Lufthansa pilots extend strike to three days

Lufthansa passengers are set to face a third consecutive day of travel chaos after German pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit extended the ongoing strike until Friday. The walk-out is the thirteenth in a year.

Vereinigung Cockpit called on Lufthansa pilots on Wednesday evening to extend the ongoing strike to Friday, with short and medium-haul flights facing disruptions.

The first day of the current walk out saw the cancellation of some 750 domestic flights. Around

80,000 passengers

planning to travel on short- and medium-haul flights were affected.

The announcement came just hours before the Lufthansa pilots began their second day of strikes, which extended across

long-haul and cargo flights

.

Flights with Lufthansa's subsidiary carriers, Germanwings and Eurowings, remained unaffected.

Retirement dispute

The ongoing dispute between Germany's flagship air carrier and Cockpit lies at the heart of the airline's plans to compete with low-cost airlines sich as Ryanair and easyJet.

In order to cut costs and expand budget operations, Lufthansa is proposing to raise the age at which its pilots can take early retirement. The airline's pilots are currently currently able to retire at age 55 and receive up to 60 percent of their pay until the normal pension kicks in at the age of 65.

Months of renewed strikes have followed unsuccessful negotiations, which cost Lufthansa around 232 million euros ($245 million) last year alone.

ksb/bk (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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