Lufthansa and its pilots' union have reached a wide-ranging agreement on pay, pensions and working practices, bringing an end to years of wrangling and strikes and boosting shares in the German group. Ciara Lee reports.
It lasted more than three years and has reportedly cost Lufthansa 75 million euros. But a deal between the German airline and its pilots' union on pay, pensions and working practices has finally been agreed. (SOUNDBITE) (German) LUFTHANSA CHIEF OFFICER OF CORPORTAE HUMAN RESOURCES, BETTINA VOLKENS, SAYING: "Today is a great day! We've had many sleepless nights. This breakthrough means our customers can finally have some security and our pilots have prospects for the future. What else could we wish for? Those sleepless nights were worth it." Lufthansa has been trying to bring pilots costs down in order to compete with Gulf carriers on long-haul routes and low-cost rivals on short-haul ones. But their efforts led to repeated strikes by unions representing 5,400 pilots at Lufthansa, Germanwings and Cargo units. The new agreement includes a 10-year pay deal and more flexible working hours. The pilots will also receive an 11.4 percent pay rise plus a one-off payment. They were already paid well by industry standards, earning on average 180,000 euros a year. This agreement will remove the risk of any more action over pay until 2022. The union says it will also reduce the airline's pilots costs by 15 percent. Lufthansa's share price - already up 16 percent this year- rose a further 1.6 percent on the news.