HAS Lufthansa made a fundamental error in its treatment of its pilots? Does that question mark apply to the entire airline industry?

Flight-deck employees of the leading German airline, including its cargo arm, have gone on strike for the 14th time since 2014, after pay talks between its pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) and management broke down again, writes Thelma Etim.

VC, which represents about 5,400 pilots, says its members have not had a pay increase for more than five years and Lufthansa is offering a pay freeze only, according to a report from Reuters.

The unimpressed union is reportedly seeking an average annual pay rise of 3.66 per cent – in line with Lufthansa’s profits of US$5.4bn over that period.

It all sounds familiar. Just like legacy cargo carriers Cargolux and Air France-KLM, Lufthansa is struggling to compete against the powerful new wave of carriers fashioning a new economic and business model, whilst experiencing extraordinary growth, innovation and profitability.

They include Qatar Airways, AirBridgeCargo, Volga-Dnepr, Turkish Airlines, Etihad and Emirates – plus a raft of regional low-cost passenger carriers.

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