A three-day strike by Lufthansa pilots that forced the German flag carrier to cancel 3,800 flights ends on Friday.

The strike was in protest at plans to end early retirement benefits.

Lufthansa is to announce plans on resuming operations after the strike, which was affected 4,25,000 passengers and was the biggest in the airline’s history.

The carrier managed to operate about 10 per cent of its services during the industrial action using about 190 volunteer pilots and 100 managers with pilot’s licenses.

The 5,400 Lufthansa pilots want the airline to reintroduce transition contracts that gave them the option of finishing flying at the age of 55.

Under the contracts, the pilots received up to 60 per cent of their gross earnings until they reach the legal retirement age of 65.

The pilots have also demanded a 10-per-cent wage increase over two years.

The airline has responded to the union’s demands by offering a one-off plus a two-step increase of 5.16 per cent over a five-year period.

The strike has come under heavy fire from politicians and industry, but a poll by ARD public television showed that the majority of Germans supported the pilots’ industrial action.

As many as 55 per cent of those surveyed said they understood the pilots’ position versus 42 per cent against, the poll found.

Nevertheless, the level of support is still much lower than two years ago when 75 per cent of Germans said they understood a strike by cabin staff.