German airline Lufthansa cancels dozens of UK flights as pilots walk out over pay dispute

A Lufthansa plane in the sky.
Trade unions have accused Lufthansa bosses of failing to improve on their previous proposal. Credit: PA

German airline Lufthansa has announced it's cancelling 800 flights on Friday, including dozens serving the UK, due to a pilots' strike.

As a result, around 7,000 passengers booked on the carrier’s UK flights will be disrupted.

All 34 of its services connecting Heathrow with Frankfurt and Munich are grounded, in addition to 11 flights between Manchester and Germany.

Lufthansa flights between Birmingham Airport and Frankfurt Airport have also been cancelled on Friday because of strike action.

Passengers affected by the cancellations will be contacted and booked onto another flight if possible.

They may also qualify for compensation, as consumer groups do not believe cancellations due to strikes by airline employees fall under the “extraordinary circumstances” exemption.

Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), a trade union representing Lufthansa’s pilots, announced the walkout on Thursday in a row over pay. It accused bosses of failing to improve on their previous proposal.

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Matthias Baier, a spokesman for the union, said: “Aware of our responsibility for companies and guests, we wanted to leave no stone unturned and offered another negotiation date despite an inadequate offer and failed negotiations.

“We did not receive a sufficient offer today either. This is sobering and a missed opportunity.

"The negotiations have failed. The only thing left for us to do is to reinforce our demands with a labour dispute.”

The German airline said it has offered to raise pilots’ monthly base salaries by 900 euros (£777), and claimed the union’s demands “would increase payroll costs by more than 40%”.

“We cannot understand VC’s call for a strike," said the airline's labour director, Michael Niggemann.

“The management has made a very good and socially balanced offer - despite the continuing burdens of the Covid crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy. This escalation comes at the expense of many thousands of customers.”