Lufthansa makes new offer to pilots after strike grounds 4,450 flights

A faster way to make an airplane
A faster way to make an airplane

Lufthansa has made another offer to its pilots in the hope of ending a strike that has forced the airline to cancel 4,450 flights.

The strike, now in its sixth day, has affected a total of 525,000 travelers and is costing the airline millions each day.

On Wednesday, nearly 900 Lufthansa-operated flights departing from Germany were grounded.

Lufthansa's pilots have gone without a pay rise for more than five years. They are asking for an average annual increase of 3.7%.

In support of their case, they point to record profits at the airline. They also claim that top company executives have seen their pay rise by as much as 30% in recent years, while board members have received even bigger hikes.

Lufthansa (DLAKY) is offering 2.4% for 2016, and 2% for 2017, plus a one-time payment. It said the new offer was not linked to any other terms or conditions.

The German carrier claims to pay pilots more than its competitors, and says its future is at stake.

"We want to urgently avoid any further damage to our company," said Harry Hohmeister, a senior Lufthansa executive.

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The union did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. It has not yet announced plans to extend the strike beyond Wednesday.

While the strike continues, Lufthansa is encouraging customers to check the status of their flight online. It has also apologized to customers and said that passengers will not be charged a fee to rebook.

Flights to and from Germany operated by the Lufthansa Group's other airlines -- Eurowings, Germanwings, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Air Dolomiti and Brussels Airlines -- are not affected by the strike.

Lufthansa shares dropped nearly 3% in Wednesday trading. They've fallen 5.3% since the strike began.

Last year, a strike by flight attendants forced Lufthansa to cancel about 4,700 flights over seven days. The airline said about 550,000 passengers were affected by the strike, which was the longest in its history.

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