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Lufthansa says some Sunday flights will be canceled

FRANKFURT Germany’s biggest airline Lufthansa said it will cancel some flights on Sunday even though its pilots have ruled out strikes that day following a four-day walkout that started on Wednesday.

“Flight ops should proceed according to schedule on Sunday. Due to the strikes on the preceding days, there may still be a few cancellations,” the company said via Twitter and email, asking customers to check the status of their flights.

A Lufthansa spokesman said the airline would be able to give a concrete number of cancellations later on Saturday. This week’s walkout has already grounded 2,755 flights, affecting 350,000 passengers.

The spokesman denied an unsourced report in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that said the company had considered going insolvent to rid itself of the costly labor agreement with its pilots, which lies at the heart of the conflict.

Late on Friday, Lufthansa’s pilots union rejected the German airline’s latest pay offer but lifted the immediate threat of extending their strike beyond Saturday.

“We need a negotiable offer. Otherwise there can always be additional strikes,” Joerg Handwerg, board member at pilots union VC, told Reuters TV on Saturday.

Lufthansa had offered to increase wages by 4.4 percent in two installments, as well as a one-off payment equal to 1.8 months’ pay.

The union wants an average annual pay increase of 3.7 percent for 5,400 pilots in Germany over a five-year period backdated to 2012.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Reuters TV; editing by Hugh Lawson and David Clarke)

Reuters