Pilots at Germany’s Lufthansa launch 2-day strike

BERLIN  Pilots at German airline Lufthansa have launched a two-day strike in a pay dispute, a walkout that forced the company to cancel nearly 900 flights on Wednesday alone.

The Cockpit union initially called members out on a 24-hour strike Wednesday. Late Tuesday night, after Lufthansa tried and failed to have courts block the walkout, it said that they would also strike on Thursday.

The company canceled 876 of the Lufthansa group’s planned 3,000 flights on Wednesday, among them 51 long-haul flights, and said that around 100,000 passengers were affected.

It expressed “complete incomprehension” at Cockpit’s decision to extend the strike and said it would make preparations to deal with the Thursday walkout.

Other Lufthansa group airlines such as Eurowings, Swiss and Austrian Airlines aren’t affected by the strike.

The latest strike by Cockpit is the 14th since April 2014 in the long-running dispute. It comes as Lufthansa restructures to meet increasing competition from Gulf airlines and European budget carriers.

Cockpit says the airline has been posting “very good numbers for years,” but that its pilots haven’t seen any consequent pay increases.(AP)