Germanwings pilots to go on strike Friday

BERLIN (AP) -- German airline pilots said they will go on strike after negotiations between the country's biggest airline Lufthansa and the union representing pilots collapsed Thursday over a long-running dispute regarding wages and early retirement benefits.

The Vereinigung Cockpit said it would instruct pilots of Germanwings, a subsidiary of Germany's biggest airline Lufthansa, to go on strike Friday.

Lufthansa said in a statement Thursday afternoon the company was trying to do all it could to get all passengers to their destinations despite Friday's strike, which comes at the end of vacation in two eastern German states, Thuringia and Saxony.

"We will do everything to care for the passengers of Germanwings in the best possible way and get them to their destinations despite the strike if possible," Bettina Volkens from Lufthansa said.

The union said all Germanwings flights departing from German airports would be affected by the strike Friday from 6 a.m. until noon local time (0400-1000 GMT).

Germanwings could not immediately be reached for comment, but the German news agency dpa said that 164 Germanwings flights from seven German airports would be affected including Cologne-Bonn, Duesseldorf, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Berlin. The country's biggest airport Frankfurt would not be directly affected by the strike, dpa said.

A three-day pilots' strike in April grounded Lufthansa and its Germanwings and Lufthansa Cargo subsidiaries.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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