The strike by Lufthansa pilots is nearing the home stretch, after three days of canceled flights and severe delays, especially in Germany. Anticipating millions in losses, the company has asked the pilots to come back for more negotiations, Deutsche Welle is reporting, even though no new offers are currently in the table.
On Thursday, the pilots' trade union "Cockpit" confirmed that its strike would end at midnight on Friday. According to Reuters, the walkout by pilots effectively grounded Germany's largest airline and is expected to cost it "in the region of 35-75 million euros," although it would take a few more days to calculate the final amount.
As a result of the strike, Lufthansa has only been able to offer about 10 percent of its standard daily schedule. In a statement, Germany's flag-carrier said that the situation has been "very quiet" at all airports throughout the country, including the major hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. Around 20,000 customers were rerouted to train lines, and the airline switched others to the remaining members of the airline group, Star Alliance airlines or external carriers. More than 25,000 tickets were rebooked on www.LH.com.
Lufthansa also noted that its call centers were experiencing long wait times, despite expanding capacity "as much as possible." On normal days, the Lufthansa call centers receive between 4,000 and 5,000 calls from customers. On Tuesday, there were 80,000, and Wednesday saw 25,000 calls.
On Friday, preparations will begin in Asia for resuming flight operations with intercontinental aircraft. The first flights will take off at 5 p.m. CET from East Asia and will arrive in Europe early on Saturday morning. Flight operations at both Lufthansa and Germanwings should be back to schedule on Saturday. There may still be some irregularities due to operational reasons, the airline said in a statement.