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Fri, Mar 26, 2010

More Strikes Threaten European Skies

BA Braces For Second Round Of Cabin Crew Walkouts

Pilots for Lufthansa continue to threaten to walk off the job as the summer travel season approaches, while BA is making plans to continue flying through a second round of walkouts by its cabin crews in as many weeks.

Lufthansa's pilots union has called a walkout at all locations in Germany in mid April, according to ABC News, The union said it was giving advance warning to east problems during the Easter holiday, and hoped to convince airline representatives to return to the bargaining table. Lufthansa pilots and the airline are in a dispute over wages, safety, and working conditions. The German broadcaster Deutche Welle reports that Lufthansa's cabin crews are considering honoring the pilot's walkout if it happens.

Meanwhile, British Airways said it would again lease additional airplanes and temporary cabin crews to continue flying when its regular cabin staff walks off the job again this weekend. The international news service AFP reports that BA plans to run all of its scheduled flights from London's Gatwick and City airports, but would fly only about half of it's short-haul flights and 70 percent of its long-haul routes from Heathrow.

BA CEO Willie Walsh said the airline's plans worked out well when some BA crews did not report for work last weekend. "The biggest contingency plan in our history went extremely well last weekend with large numbers of cabin crew reporting for work as normal," he said.

However Unite, The Union, which represents BA's cabin crews, said only about 20 percent of the workers reported for duty. The union represents about 12,000 BA cabin staff workers.

One labor dispute appears to be resolved, however, as the pilots union for TAP Airline in Portugal have reached agreement with the airline for a new contract. USA Today reports that the deal was reached Tuesday, and includes a 1.8 percent pay increase for cockpit crews, plus a share of any savings obtained through streamlining.

The pilot's union's 800 members had planned a six-day walkout over the pay dispute.



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