BERLIN, October 20. /TASS/. Pilots of the German airline company Lufthansa have gone on strike at 1.00pm local time Monday. The strike, which will continue for 35 hours, is expected to be called off at 11.59pm local time Tuesday, a representative of the Vereinigung Cockpit trade union declared Monday.
The on-line time table says that around 1,500 flights have been cancelled, including flights to Moscow and St.Petersburg. On the eve of the strike, Lufthansa said that it was planning to perform only around 700 out of 2,150 scheduled flights, using the services of pilots, who volunteered to do the job on the day of the strike, and other air transportation agencies.
On Monday morning the Cockpit unexpectedly declared that the Lufthansa pilots who perform long-range flights by Aerobus aircraft A380, A340, A330 and the Boeing 747, would join the strike as of 6.00am local time Tuesday, while earlier, the strike was meant to have involved Lufthansa pilots who perform short-range or medium-range flights only.
The Cockpit company which represents the pilots' interests is demanding amendments to the existing tariff agreements. In particular, it is protesting against the Lufthansa management's plans to increase the retirement age for aircraft crews from 59 to 61 years.