More than 100 pilots of Lufthansa's subsidiary Austrian Airlines have quit recently to avoid having to work for lower salaries under new contracts introduced by the German carrier to cut costs, Austrian media reported Friday.
Lufthansa, Europe's biggest airline, also faces trouble in its operations in Germany, where wage talks with flight crews were interrupted, raising the possibility of a strike.
A spokesman at Austrian Airlines' Vienna headquarters declined to confirm the number of pilots who quit, saying: “The order of magnitude is realistic.”
The carrier is not only losing a fifth of its pilots, but some 200 of its 1,500 flight attendants also want to leave, Austrian press agency APA reported.
The spokesman said that no flights would have to be cancelled, as the company had been employing too many pilots and was planning to sell 11 airplanes to save costs.
At Austrian Airlines' parent Lufthansa, crew representatives demanded that managers reveal their plans for staffing airplanes, otherwise they would strike in mid-June.
Lufthansa has announced that it wants to boost its operative profit by at least 1.5 billion euros (1.9 billion dollars) until 2014, with a third of that amount coming from lowered personnel costs.
To that end, the company has started hiring 240 contract workers as flight attendants.
The Lufthansa group made a loss of 397 million euros in the first quarter. - Sapa-dpa