Lufthansa pilots in Germany have said they will extend strike action again until Saturday, this time targeting long-haul flights in a long-running pay dispute.The dispute has grounded tens of thousands of passengers and cancelled hundreds of flights.
By the end of Friday, an estimated total of 315,000 passengers will have been affected. Lufthansa's executive management board member Harry Hohmeister said it was "not possible" to meet the pilots' demand for a bigger wage rise.
"The starting point is that we already pay our pilots far better than our competitors," Hohmeister was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
A company board member said the first two days of strike action had cost the airline about € 20 million.
The striking Lufthansa pilots are demanding a pay rise of an average of 3.66% a year, retroactive for the past five years. The company has offered a 2.5% wage increase.
Lufthansa insists that despite a record profit in 2015, it has no choice but to cut costs to compete with rivals such as Ryanair on short-haul flights and Emirates on long-haul.
Affected passengers can rebook their flights without charge or request rail travel vouchers, the airline said.
Their union says pilots have endured a wage freeze over that time and suffered a "significant loss of purchasing power" due to inflation, while Lufthansa has made billions in profits.
Lufthansa group's other airlines - Germanwings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Air Dolomiti and Brussels Airlines - are not affected by this week's strike.
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