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Lufthansa flights grounded in new pilots' strike

Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, said it will cancel 200 flights on Friday (Sep 5), affecting 25,000 passengers, as a consequence of a pilots' strike to be held later in the day.

FRANKFURT: Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, said it will cancel 200 flights on Friday (Sep 5), affecting 25,000 passengers, as a consequence of a pilots' strike to be held later in the day.

The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit has called for a six-hour walk-out between 5.00pm and 11.00pm (11pm to 5am, Singapore time) over plans to change the airline's early retirement policy. The industrial action is focusing on the country's biggest airport in Frankfurt and will ground most domestic and regional flights.

Lufthansa said individual flights would already be cancelled as early as 1.30pm (7.30pm, Singapore time) and most flights from 4.00pm (10pm, Singapore time). The airline promised to try and limit the impact of the strike for customers.

Lufthansa pilots can currently take paid early retirement from the age of 55. They are fighting a plan by the airline to raise the minimum age and to involve pilots in the financing of their pensions.

Last Friday, more than 100 flights were cancelled at several of Germany's main airports as pilots of Lufthansa's low-cost airline Germanwings also walked out. And on Monday, a union for German train drivers called for a three-hour walkout to turn up the pressure on management of the national rail operator Deutsche Bahn in gridlocked wage talks.

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