Lufthansa is facing fresh strikes. Reuters

German airline Lufthansa has cancelled almost half of its scheduled services on 1 and 2 December in connection with the latest strike by pilots over retirement benefits.

The air carrier cancelled 1,350 flights or 48% of scheduled services, affecting more than 150,000 passengers.

German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) earlier called for a strike, after its talks with the company failed. The strike will impact all Lufthansa short-haul and continental flights departing between 12.00 CEST on 1 December to 23.59 CEST on 2 December, and for all intercontinental flights departing between 03:00 CEST to 23:59 CEST on 2 December.

Flights of Lufthansa's budget subsidiary Germanwings are not affected.

The company said it is "working intensely" on a special timetable for the strike period.

VC has called a number of strikes in recent months due to a long-running disagreement with Lufthansa management, which plans to gradually increase the age at which pilots can take early retirement.

Meanwhile, the pilots want to continue with the existing early retirement scheme, under which they may retire at age 55 and receive up to 60% of their pay until the normal pension kicks in at the age of 65.

Thousands of passengers were hit by eight previous strikes, while the company suffered a €160m (£127m, $199m) decline in its operating profit.

Lufthansa, the second largest airline in Europe, earlier cut its operating profit forecast for next year due to anticipated pressure on ticket prices given the weak economic growth in Germany.

However, the company reiterated a target for operating profit to rise to about €1bn in 2014.