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Lufthansa pilots start three-day strike over early retirement

By Kirsti Knolle

Lufthansa pilots started a walkout on Wednesday that has prompted the German carrier to cancel about 3,800 flights, in what could become one of the biggest strikes ever to hit the airline.

The union representing most of Lufthansa’s 5,400 pilots called a three-day strike to underline its demand to keep an early retirement scheme.

Lufthansa called for fresh talks on the matter.

“Our wish … is that we start talking again as soon as possible, even during the strike, because I think that we can find a good solution,” Lufthansa spokeswoman Barbara Schaedler told Reuters TV on Wednesday.

The situation at Frankfurt airport, Europe’s third-biggest hub, and at Munich was quiet on Wednesday morning, spokespeople said, as passengers had been notified of flight cancellations well in advance.

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt called on Lufthansa and the union to seek a quick resolution for the sake of travellers.

“Every day of strikes limits the mobility of hundreds of thousands of people,” he was quoted saying by German daily Bild.

The strike also affects Lufthansa’s cargo arm and its low-cost carrier Germanwings.

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