- The Washington Times - Monday, February 22, 2010

FRANKFURT, Germany — A four-day walkout by Lufthansa pilots that upended travel plans for 10,000 people will be cut short after the airline and their union agreed to suspend the strike and hold talks, both said Monday.

The two sides reached an agreement after a two-hour-long hearing at a Frankfurt labor court, Cockpit union spokesman Joerg Handwerg told the Associated Press.

Lufthansa confirmed the decision and said the walkout would end at midnight.

“The parties agreed in front of the court that the strike is to be suspended through the eighth of March,” Lufthansa spokesman Andreas Bartels told AP, adding the 4,000 pilots will return to work Tuesday, though it would take some time for normal operations to resume.

“They’re going to go back to work tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said. “I can’t say when we are back to normal operations. It takes a lot of time.”

About 10,000 Lufthansa and Germanwings passengers were upended by the strike, which began at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Mr. Handwerg said the strike was suspended until March 9, pending the resumption of talks between both sides. Pilots for Lufthansa Cargo and the low-budget subsidiary, Germanwings, were also taking part in the strike.

“We are happy with the agreement because Lufthansa now has to resume negotiations without preconditions,” Mr. Handwerg said.

Lufthansa pilots announced the walkout last week over their concerns that cheaper crews from Lufthansa’s smaller airlines in other countries could eventually replace them.

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