Swiss Pilots End Strike, Airline to Sue for Damages

A one-day pilots strike at Swiss European Air Lines which affected thousands of travelers to and from Switzerland was called off late Tuesday after the company made substantial offers, the pilots union said.

Swiss Pilots Association president Thomas Isler told Schweizer Fernsehen television that the strike ended as planned. He said the management of Swiss, which in the course of the day threatened to fire and sue the pilots, had understood the message the strike was intended to send.

The airline's European operations chief Manfred Brennwald confirmed Tuesday evening to reporters at Zurich's Kloten airport that Swiss still intends to sue the union for damages.

The strike affected over 8,000 passengers booked on Swiss flights operated with short haul Jumbolino aircraft.

Swiss said that at least 128 flights between Switzerland's main cities Geneva, Basel and Zurich, and dozens of European and Mediterranean destinations had been canceled.

A further six flights to Zurich on Wednesday morning will also be canceled, Swiss said, because aircraft could not reach Brussels, Hanover, Duesseldorf, Milan, Geneva and Basel by Tuesday night.

Swiss European Air Lines is a subsidiary of Swiss International.

The company, the successor to Swissair but now owned by German operator Lufthansa, provided travelers with updates on its Web site throughout the day.

SPA says working conditions for long haul pilots are up to 90 percent better than those of their short haul colleagues, who operate the Jumbolino aircraft.


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