1350 Lufthansa Airlines flights cancelled due to strike
Planes of German flagship carrier Lufthansa are parked on tarmac at Munich's airport, December 1, 2014. Lufthansa cancelled 1,350 flights, or 48 percent of scheduled services, for Monday and Tuesday as its pilots prepared to go on strike, their ninth walkout this year.Reuters

A strike initiated by pilots of Deutsche Lufthansa AG has caused the German airlines to cancel 1350 of its flights. The strike for Lufthansa short-haul and continental flights departing between 12.00 CEST on 1December to 23.59 CEST on 2 December, and for intercontinental flights departing between 03:00 CEST to 23:59 CEST on 2 December has affected over 150000 passengers.

The pilots and the management are at loggerheads over retirement benefits that has lead to nine strikes so far this year, including the recent one.The German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) representing nearly 5,400 pilots is opposing Lufthansa's attempt to do away with a retirement plan that allows pilots to retire at 55, but continue receiving 60 % of their normal salary until the standard retirement age of 65 years.

According to the statement released by the Lufthansa website, the passengers whose travel plans were affected by the strike can rebook tickets in other airlines free of charge.

"We must find solutions – in the interests of all our employees, our customers and our shareholders – that will ensure the long-term viability of our company for the decades ahead," Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa chairman said in a statement

Lufthansa, despite being Germany's largest airline had to cut its profit projections for 2015 for the second time this year, thanks to rising costs and intense competition. The airline is also expanding its low-cost service to counter tough competition from other carriers. Lufthansa however reveals that thanks to increase in demand and their "flexible demand-based capacity management," the company has achieved acceptable traffic revenue by the third quarter of 2014.

"When we look ahead, though, we can see that the economic slowdown and the continuing declines in our passenger yields in the face of such fierce competition will affect our operating scope in the year ahead. This is why we need to modify our projections for 2015, even though we expect it to produce an operating result that is significantly above this year's," said Simone Menne, Chief Officer Finance & Aviation Services of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The airline of the Lufthansa Group will be reducing its planned capacity growth for 2015 from the original 5% to around 3% in available-seat-kilometer terms.