Pilot Strike Disrupts Lufthansa Regional Network

 - January 21, 2009, 7:54 AM

Most of the 125 pilots of the German regional airline Con-tact Air went on a limited strike today, disrupting parts of the Luf-thansa Regional European network. Contact Air has a fleet of five ATR-42-500s, six ATR 72-500s and three Fokker 100s, all flying under wet-lease contracts for Lufthansa Regional and Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss to destinations within Central Europe.

According to the pilot’s trade union, the strike will run from 4:30 p.m. local time today until 9:30 tomorrow morning. The ac-tion is intended as a warning to management to start serious nego-tiations for increased wages. Contact Air pilots reportedly asked for a retroactive pay increase of 7.9 percent for 2008 and another in-crease of 5.9 percent for 2009. Management is offering 3.5 percent each year from 2009 through 2011. On the first day of strike, Luf-thansa Regional has been able to limit cancellations to 15 flights per day by rebooking passengers on other flights within its exten-sive network. The pilots of Stuttgart-based Contact Air threaten further actions “if salaries are not upgraded to the level of similar airlines in Germany.”