Two Airlines Hit With Pilot Strike: Lufthansa Cancels Almost 900 Flights While DHL And Amazon Shipments Could Be Delayed Over Black Friday Weekend

Pilots of two airlines have gone on strike, inconveniencing not only the travelers but also people expecting their Amazon and DHL delivers right around Black Friday weekend. While German airlines Lufthansa had to cancel close to 900 flights, ABX Air, a unit of Air Transport Services Group, is seeking legal recourse to get its pilots back to work.

The cabin crew at Lufthansa’s budget unit Eurowings went on a time-bound strike on Tuesday. The cockpit union launched a 15-hour strike, which caused several dozen flight cancellations as Lufthansa warned its customers to brace themselves for a much larger and longer strike that many more pilots could soon join. The strike duration was soon increased to 24 hours. The union confirmed that pilots of all short- and long-haul flights out of Germany will go on strike. The cause of the strike has been the long-standing pay dispute between the pilots’ union and the Lufthansa management.

The strike duration was increased from 15 hours to a day, and it most likely could be extended soon, perhaps because of the way Lufthansa attempted to block it. The German airlines tried to get the courts involved to prevent the walkout but failed, resulting in the union confirming the strike would be continued till Thursday.

Lufthansa expects the strike and the resulting cancellation of 876 flights to impact as many as 100,000 passengers regionally. Incidentally, of the flights canceled or rescheduled, more than 50 were intercontinental flights, which would certainly cause more problems for passengers of these long flights.

The airline has asked all its passengers to check the status of their flights online. However, it has confirmed that more than 2,100 flights will operate according to their schedules. As expected, Lufthansa has profusely apologized to the affected passengers, but as compensation, the company merely waived off the fee to rebook.

At the heart of the strike is the five-year disagreement over pay rise. Lufthansa’s pilots say they have gone without a pay rise for more than five years, reported CNN. Surprisingly, the pilots have long asked for an average annual increase of 3.7 percent.

As a justification, the pilots point out the record profits Lufthansa has made over these past years. Additionally, they claim that while the pilots are sidetracked for the pay rise, top company executives, as well as board members, have gone home with fatter wallets each year. While the union hasn’t offered any proof, they insist top management has seen their pay rise by as much as 30 percent in the past few year, and board members have received even higher remunerations. Fearing the strike negotiations may stall, Lufthansa has agreed to enter arbitration with the union.

While Lufthansa’s pilots have caused severe disruptions for passengers, those offering their services to ABX Air, a unit of Air Transport Services Group, could cause severe delays for Amazon and DHL deliveries during one of the busiest holiday shopping seasons. With Black Friday merely a couple of days away, 250 pilots for a regional Ohio cargo airline went on strike over working conditions. Interestingly, ABX Air confirmed it would try to break the strike by seeking a court order, reported USA Today.

ABX Air operates 45 flights for DHL and 35 for Amazon per day. All of Tuesday’s flights were canceled. Incidentally, 65 percent of Air Transport Service’s revenue in the third quarter of 2016 came from DHL and Amazon accounts.

Amazon has a huge footprint in Ohio. It has three data centers and two warehouses in the pipeline. According to regional investment experts, Amazon is planning to invest around $1 billion in the Buckeye State. The online retail giant noted it works with several airlines and added it was fairly confident that the pilots’ strike wouldn’t affect delivery schedules.

[Featured Image by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images]

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