Europe

Lufthansa reaches 'breakthrough' deal with pilots union

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2014 file photo Lufthansa planes are parked at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany. Lufthansa and their pilots found an agreement over all their rate disputes. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2014 file photo Lufthansa planes are parked at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany. Lufthansa and their pilots found an agreement over all their rate disputes. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)  (The Associated Press)

German airline Lufthansa has reached a preliminary agreement on a labor deal with its pilots that would cut pension liabilities and bar strikes through 2022.

Lufthansa's drawn-out talks with the Vereinigung Cockpit union have led to several costly stoppages that disrupted hundreds of flights.

Lufthansa's labor relations head, Bettina Volkens, on Wednesday called the deal a "breakthrough" that would end the dispute.

The union said the deal would protect pilot jobs at Lufthansa and low-cost division Germanwings, while guaranteeing lower unit costs to the company. The company said it would drop plans to staff 40 planes outside the labor agreement and committed to operate a certain number of planes to offer pilots the opportunity to train for captain's positions.

The two sides said details remain to be worked out.