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Germanwings pilots to strike on Friday morning

Germanwings, Lufthansa's subsidiary, has announced its pilots will walk out after talks with management collapsed. All German airports would be affected by the pledged strike.

German holiday makers could face a chaotic end to their vacation after pilots of Lufthansa's budget subsidiary Germanwings said they will stage a strike on Friday. The walk out comes during an ongoing dispute over retirement benefits.

Talks fail

Talks between the German pilots union, Vereinigung Cockpit, and the airline finally collapsed on Thursday afternoon. Cockpit says all Germanwings flights on Friday will be grounded between 6.00 and 12.00 am local time (GMT).

The strike is part of a simmering dispute involving Lufthansa, Germanwings and Lufthansa Cargo and their 5,400 pilots over early retirement packages. The average retirement age among the airlines' pilots is 59 years.

The airlines pay a bridging subsidy until full retirement benefits kick in; they want to gradually raise the early retirement age to 61 as one element of wide ranging cost cutting measures. Lufthansa said it "regrets" the srike action.

bew/glb (dpa,AFP)

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