One strike ends, another begins…again!

First the good news: Air France’s main pilots’ union has announced the end of a crippling two-week strike, held over the airline’s plans for a low-cost subsidiary.

The SNPL’s spokesman told AFP that pilots were ending their protest – which has cost Air France more than 200 million euros ($A270.49 million) – so that negotiations over its low-cost subsidiary, Transavia, can go ahead “in a calmer climate”.

The pilots are fighting for a “single contract” across Air France-KLM, and its subsidiaries, to avoid being forced to accept less attractive working conditions at Transavia, which serves holiday destinations across Europe and the Mediterranean.

Now the less good news: pilots with Germany’s flag carrier, Lufthansa, will stage yet another strike, this time affecting long-haul flights tomorrow, Tuesday 30th September; their latest walkout in the ongoing dispute with the company’s management over early retirement provisions.

The pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit, called on its members to strike on long-haul flights departing from Frankfurt between 0600 and 2100 tomorrow. The strike would affect services on Airbus A380, A330 and A340 and Boeing 747 aircraft, the union said.

This is the fourth time that Lufthansa’s pilots have ‘downed tools’ in recent weeks. The first strike at the end of August hit Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary Germanwings. The second walkout a week later affected domestic and regional services, landing at or taking off from Frankfurt, and the third stoppage targeted Munich airport, Germany’s second-busiest air hub.

Lufthansa pilots can currently take paid early retirement from the age of 55. They are fighting a plan by the airline to raise the minimum age and to involve pilots in the financing of their pensions.