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Germany

Strike Knocks Out 990 German Domestic Flights

A pilots' union in Germany went on strike on Tuesday, July 22, with little warning, prompting flag-carrier Lufthansa to cancel 990 flights operated by its two short-haul subsidiaries.

A plane approaches in the distance as two Lufthansa aircrafts, foreground, stand idle at Frankfurt international airport

The Lufthansa Group was hit across Europe, along with thousands of passengers

Lufthansa said it had offered pay rises to pilots at its CityLine and Eurowings units and criticized their union, Vereinigung Cockpit, for calling the sudden 36-hour stoppage instead of negotiating.

About one third of Lufthansa Group's flights on European routes were cancelled and tens of thousands of passengers were forced to rebook onto other airlines or trains. The strike was to end at midnight on Wednesday.

CityLine and Eurowings, which fly propeller planes and small jets, pay flight crews less than the Lufthansa parent company does.

Vereinigung Cockpit, which represents pilots and flight-deck engineers, gave only two hours' notice of the noon Tuesday walkout. Some flights were expected to continue, since the union does not represent all the cockpit crews employed at the two lines.

Eurowings and CityLine operate short-haul Lufthansa connections within Germany and to nearby nations.

Strikes increasing in size and disruption

Two weeks ago the union held a 24-hour strike that knocked out 600 flights and caused many others to take off late by several hours.

The union, which has about 1,000 members working for the two airlines, is demanding pay scales closer to those used at Lufthansa, but has not publicized the extent of its demands.

Lufthansa spokeswoman Claudia Lange said the airline had offered hikes in two stages to lift CityLine pay 5.5 percent and had bid 6.5 percent more at Eurowings as well as one-off bonuses.

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